Local hero Francisco Lopez rewarded the thousands of Chilean fans that turned out to support him by securing his third stage win of the 2013 Dakar. The Copec KTM rider won the demanding 455km timed special by a significant 2m34s, a result that moves him back into contention in the overalls standings having suffered navigational problems earlier in the race. Lopez is now fourth overall 6m 06s off the lead.
Factory KTM rider Ruben Faria had a good day himself and also played an important role in the overall race strategy for KTM’s number one man Cyril Despres. With Despres finishing third on the stage, Faria will let the Frenchman pass at the beginning of the tomorrow’s timed special, meaning that Despres will have Lopez to chase and a clear track to get to him.
Speaking to MCN Despres said: “The plan was to attack, but that was until KM24 when I made a little mistake when I went into the wrong valley. I was able to get back on track but it wasn’t easy – the road book said to turn right at the dunes, but there were a lot of right turns and a lot of dunes!
“I really enjoyed the second half of the Special, the ground was hard after all the soft sand in Peru. I really enjoy riding like this where you can slide the bike. The only problem was that I caught the other riders and we were all riding in each others dust. I felt good and wanted to ride faster but it wasn’t possible.”
Marc Coma’s factory KTM replacement Kurt Casseli claimed his best result of his Dakar career. The rookie from America finished fourth ahead of Italian Husqvarna rider Alessandro Botturi.
Yamaha Racing France rider Olivier Pain maintained his lead of the Dakar in the overall standings despite finishing tenth on the stage 7m 33s behind Lopez. The 31 year old Frenchman leads overall by 2m 22s.
Results Stage Six
Arica to Calama total distance 767 km – 313 km liaison and 464 km special
1, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, KTM t:36.21
2, Ruben Faria, Portugal KTM 3:38.55
3, Cyril Despres, France, KTM 3:40.099.32 ((at 3.48)
4, David Casteu, France, Yamaha 3:51.51
5, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, Husqvarna, 3:41.56
6, Israel Esquerre, Chile, Honda, 3:42.34
Overall Standings after Stage Six
1, Pain, 15:35.23
2, Despres + 2m 22s
3, Casteu, +4m 48s5:40.11
4, Lopez, + 6m 06s
5, Faria, + 8m 35s
6, Botturi, + 12m 02s