Frenchman Cyril Despres claimed the stage victory and with it the overall lead of the 2011 Dakar. The factory Redbull KTM rider started the stage first and remained at the front through out 440 KM of liaisaon and 300km of timed special stage.
Despres who now leads rival Marc Coma by 1m 49s said: “It was a long 300-km special stage which was like giant slalom with jumps. It was full of bends and very slippery," At the fuel stop I noticed that I'd taken almost a minute less than Coma. I was feeling good, so I decided to attack a bit in the second part, although I was careful to look after my tires because I nearly wore them through today. The most important thing is to find a good pace and have the right feeling. For the moment, the riding demands a lot of concentration".
Coma moved up to second in the standings after overhauling Despres team-mate and water carrier Faria. He said: "It was a long stage, 300 km with lots of riding and virtually no navigation. I managed to get past Ruben Faria after losing a bit of time, so I tried to push on to make up but the main priority was to look after the tires. Towards the end I slowed down a little to take it easy until the finishing line".
Sherco rider David Casteau bounced back to form during stage two with the third fastest time. The committed Frenchman crashed heavily during the opening stage with his bike hitting a spectator, but he was back to his best after learning the spectator was not seriously injured.
Brit Craig Bounds continued his strong start to this years event by posting the 39th fastest time of the day leaving him 42nd overall. Jenifer Morgan’s Dakar remains on track with the Yamaha rider lying 161st overall.