Cyril Despres has hit out at his rivals for their tactics during the fourth stage on day fours testing 290km special. The four time Dakar champion aimed some telling words towards a number of riders who benefited from his navigational skills meaning that while he was focussed on the road book they had the opportunity to ride flat out and pick up a lot of time.
Although Despres did not mention specific riders it’s believed his comments were aimed at Speedbrain Husqvarna rider Joan Barreda who after problems on stage three started today down in 24th place but was able to win the stage by a massive 8m 23s..
Despres said: “Chaleco (Lopez) rode quite strongly at the beginning of the special, but I caught up with him and then turned on the afterburners. It was a bit of a déjà-vu with yesterday and the day before. I later backed off a bit and those who started further back seized the opportunity to gain some time.
It's not the first time this happens, but don't worry about me, I'm racing my way. I've been riding at a high pace for three days, but not flat out, which helps me to save energy and avoid pushing the motorcycle to the limit. When you start at the back and go like crazy all day long, you ride in the dust, so if you later have mechanical problems, it won't be down to just bad luck... The rally's still long and I ride at my pace!”
Barreda finished the stage up-beat and his impressive result and margin of victory has put him right back in to contention. He now holds fourth place 5m 38s off the lead and 2m29s behind Despres.
He said: “After a bad day yesterday, when I broke the spokes of my wheel and lost heaps of time, I rode very well today. I started from far back and was able to go on the attack from the beginning to the end. Nothing is lost yet, so I'm going to fight every day to move back to the front.”
Yamaha Racing France rider Olivier Pain benefitted from following his rivals through the special and after finishing second has moved up to first in the overall leaderboard.
He said: “I caught up with the group towards the end of the special because they strayed a bit off track and, being behind them, at the top of the valley, I was able to take the shortest route and make up a lot of time. I've been riding at my pace from the beginning, with no pressure, just to have fun, and doing my best not to fall because the rally's just begun. I don't want to get overexcited about my place in the overall, the rally's still long and my objective is to finish in the Top 10 every day, and I hope to continue doing this well until the end.”
Results Stage Four
Nazca to Arequipa total distance 718 km – 429 km liaison and 289 km special
1, Joan Barreda, Spain, Husqvarna three hours 41.09
2, Olivier Pain, France, Yamaha 3:49.32
3, David Casteu, France, Yamaha 3:51.51
4, Gerard Farres Guell, Spain, Honda, 3:52.49
5, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal Honda, 3:52.52
6, Ruben Faria, Portugal KTM 3:53.27
Overall Standings after Stage Four
1, Pain, 10:10.38
2, Casteu, 10:13.02
3, Despres, KTM, 10:13.47
4, Barreda, 10:16.16
5, Jordi Villadoms, Spain, 10:18.00
6, Faria, KTM 10:19.17