Dakar 2013: Stage 12 wrap
KEEPING AN EYE ON THE REST: In the general standings, Cyril Despres (above) and team mate Ruben Faria are in the top two positions in the 2013 Dakar motorcyle category.
COPIAPO, Chile - The 12th special stage, marked by the joint strategy of general standings leader Cyril Despres and his provisional runner-up and team mate, Ruben Faria, Dutchman Frans Verhoeven picked up his 4th stage victory at the 2013 Dakar and his first since 2011.
In the general standings, Despres and Faria are in the first two places ahead of “Chaleco” Lopez.
The situation is almost identical in the car category, where Stéphane Peterhansel is focused on protecting his lead. Despite a small scare after grinding to a halt in the dunes, Peterhansel has a comfortable lead in the general on completion of the special won by Nani Roma.
Cyril Despres, third to start the day's special stage, decided to protect his team mate Ruben Faria against the attacks of Chaleco Lopez who is always a threat on home soil. As a result, the general standings leader preferred to hold back a little and leave opening the tracks to his rivals, less skilled in navigation.
The outcome was a more moderate pace to the race. This strategy paid off perfectly, because at the finishing line, Ruben Faria, tenth to start today, having quickly caught up with the stage leaders, achieved the second best time of the day, 1min38 behind Frans Verhoeven.
Verhoeven, 12th to start, took advantage of clear tracks to really hit the gas, picking up his first victory on the Dakar 2013. Behind him, in spite of a painful shoulder due to a crash, Joan Barreda put in the day's third best time, 16 seconds in front of Alain Duclos, an excellent 4th place on his Sherco.
In the general standings, Despres' and Faria's strategy performed flawlessly as the title holder remains untroubled in the lead, 5min39 ahead of his team mate who enjoyed the additional bonus of adding a further 3min to the gap that separates him from Chaleco Lopez, 7th quickest in Stage 12, now 13min40 behind the rally leader.
In the quad category, the return to the dunes and off-track riding brought Sebastien Husseini back to his favourite terrain. As a result, Husseini finally won his first stage victory in the 2013 Dakar, 1min08 ahead of Marcos Patronelli. However Patronelli still boasts a more than comfortable lead in the general standings, 1hr52min35 ahead of Chilean Ignacio Casale.
In the car category, despite a fright with a burst tyre at the very end of the special, Nani Roma took advantage of successive mistakes made by Robby Gordon and Stéphane Peterhansel, to grab his third stage victory in 2013, 4min18 ahead of Gordon.
Peterhansel is officially focused on protecting his lead in the general standings. The overall leader and title holder drove without forcing the issue too much and although he was briefly stuck in the dunes, he only lost 6min03 to Roma and more importantly merely 1min38 to his closest pursuer, Giniel de Villiers, in third.
As a result, mere days away from the finish in Santiago, Peterhansel still has a lead of 50min24 over the South African and 1hr31min06 over Roma, the new 3rd placed driver at the expense of Novitskiy.
In the truck category, the race boiled down to a duel between the Kamaz team. Currently 3rd in the general standings, over the last stages Andrey Karginov has his eye on taking second place from his team mate Ayrat Mardeev. As a result, he is attacking whenever he can.
The outcome was a second stage victory in 2013 for Karginov, the 4th in his career, finishing 2min36 ahead of his team mate and main rival Ayrat Mardeev. The latter of the two Russians, as consistent as ever, finished 13sec ahead of Gerard De Rooy, who stormed through the beginning of the special, but was soon slowed by a puncture. The day's action has not changed the general standings however, where Nikolaev has an imperial lead, 31min20 ahead of Mardeev and 50min26 in front of Karginov.
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