Dakar's toughest yet?
Frenchman David Frétigné took another stage win on Thursday (Jan 6), in what many are saying was one of the toughest Dakar rally stages ever - the 660km marathon stage.
It was competed almost entirely over camel grass or dunes - making going particularly difficult and the light weight of Frétigné’s Yamaha WR450 proved an advantage on the long and tiring stage. The lone Yamaha rider leads a fleet of heavier 660cc KTM machines that usually dominate the event.
Technical problems have so far prevented Frétigné from using the two-wheel drive system unique to his bike making weight his only advantage.
Overall leader Marc Coma took second place on the stage followed by Cyril Despres and Alfie Cox.
The Marathon stage was supposed to continue on Friday (Jan 7) with another 520km run and no mechanical assistance for the machines overnight. But the vast majority of the bikes didn’t finish the stage until very late in the night with 80 per cent of the bikes still out in the field at 10pm so organisers have shortened Friday’s stage to 130km.
The bikes won’t set off till 10am and the remainder of the stage will be completed by road.
Top Brit to finish the stage was Mick Extance who finished the stage in 79th on his Rally Raid UK Honda XR650.