Gordon wins Dakar Stage 13
"HOW HIGH, DID YOU SAY...?" Toyota SA's Giniel de Villiers dnd co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz get lift-off on Stage 13 of the 2013 Dakar Rally between Copiapo and La Serena, Chile, on Friday. They're still second overall. Image: AFP
SERENA, Chile - American Robby Gordon won Stage 13 of the 2013 Dakar Rally on Friday but Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel kept his commanding lead in the overall standings.
There’s one day to go and South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers and his Toyota Hilux are still in second place overall.
Gordon was 22sec ahead of Guerlain Chicherit of France in the cars category while Peterhansel finished nearly 14 minutes off the pace.
‘WE DIDN’T TAKE RISKS’
Peterhansel is still nearly certain to win his 11th Dakar title barring any mishap as he leads the overall car standings by 44min38 ahead of Villiers.
Other competitors are more than an hour behind after more than 36 hours of special stages.
Peterhansel said after the stage: "We didn't take any risks at all and we only lost a few minutes but we managed to protect our lead this way. There were some impressive dunes but, rather than risking getting stuck on them, we preferred to go either right or left around them and then get back on track afterwards."
Peterhansel spoke cautiously, knowing he still might face problems: "It will be simpler on Saturday because it is less long than today. I think we still have a lead of around 45 minutes so we're going to carry on taking it easy.
“There's no sign of relief yet. We know how it goes: something could still happen right up until you cross the finish line."
‘SECOND PART REALLY FAST’
Giniel de Villiers said the first part of the day tricky and the first section “fast”. “A few times we had to turn around to make it up some dunes. The second part was just really fast, flat out. For sure, it's finished now. We still all have to do Saturday but there's nothing more to do on the time front.
“I think that we can get second. We've improved on 2012’s third and we are a lot closer to the opposition than we were. We need maybe a little bit more work but it's a good challenge for us. There are a lot of small things, you know...
“I think the guy who made the least mistakes was Stéphane. The mistakes we made, especially on Day 2 with the navigation, cost us a lot of time – 23 minutes and a bit too much. The time we got stuck cost us 19 or 12 minutes, which was also a little bit too much.
“Those were my two mistakes and the other problem we had was with the brakes so that meant another 10 minutes. If you take that all off, we should be a lot closer.”
Robby Gordon added: “For us the most important thing is to finish the rally. We have nothing really to gain. I know Chicherit's buggy has a bigger restrictor. It has 39mm and we're on 37 so he should be faster on tracks like this but it is what it is…
I hope in 2014 we'll get the 39mm restrictor too. Any time you don't win you're going to have some regrets and I guess the first regret was being too conservative on Day 1 because that got me stuck and from there we never recovered – we just put ourselves in worse positions.”
Defending champion Cyril Despres is close to his fifth Dakar title. He’s leading KTM team mate Francisco Lopez of Chile by 8min15 overall and is 14min14 up on another KTM rider, Ruben Faria of Portugal.
"Since I ate quite a bit of dust in the morning I preferred to make sure and take it easy," Despres said at the end of the stage. "As for celebrating, we still have 220km to the bivouac today and with 690km on Saturday.
“It’s not going to be a walk in the park."
Despres added: “The bike race isn't just about strategy. It's also about rally-raid sport: we've just ridden 440km. I was feeling good on the first section, where there was quite a bit of navigation. Afterwards, I saw I'd got some time back on Chaleco and that he wasn't going to disappear into the distance over 140km.
“So, I thought I had better be careful with the engine. For Ruben, we tried our best! In his defence, the navigation wasn't that easy in the morning. There were two or three tricky bits of reading to select the right track.”
Lopez won Friday's stage, with Despres 5min25 behind.
The rally will finish on Saturday in the Chilean capita, Santiago.
Dakar Rally results on Friday Jan 18 after the 13th and penultimate stage, a 441km timed run from Copiapo to La LA
1 Robby Gordon (USA/Hummer) +3hr40min5
2 Guerlain Chicherit (FRA/SMG) +22
3 Orlando Terranova (ARG/BMW) +4min41
4 Giniel De Villiers (RSA/Toyota) +8min08
5 Leonid Novitskiy (RUS/Mini) +8min35
6 Lucio Alvarez (ARG/Toyota) +11min01
7 Carlos Sousa (POR/Great Wall) +12min45
8 Ronan Chabot (FRA/SMG) +13min05
9 Stephane Peterhansel (FRA/Mini) +13min51
10 Zhou Yong (CHN/Great Wall) +20min19
1 Stephane Peterhansel (FRA/Mini) 36hr44min46
2 Giniel De Villiers (RSA/Toyota) +44min38
3 Leonid Novitskiy (RUS/Mini) +1hr29min31
4 Nani Roma (ESP/Mini) +1hr40min26
5 Orlando Terranova (ARG/BMW) +1hr52min40
6 Carlos Sousa (POR/Great Wall) +2hr38min40
7 Ronan Chabot (FRA/SMG) +3hr02min25
8 Guerlain Chicherit (FRA/SMG) +3hr29min22
9 Pascal Thomasse (FRA/Buggy Md Rallye) +4hr31min49
10 Boris Garafulic (CHI/Mini) +4hr45min58
1 Francisco Lopez (CHI/KTM) 3hr44min54
2 Cyril Despres (FRA/KTM) +5min25
3 Paulo Goncalves (POR/Husqvarna) +5min29
4 Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP/KTM) +7min42
5 Joan Barreda Bort (ESP/Husqvarna) +8min24
6 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Honda) +9min37
7 Ivan Jakes (SVK/KTM) +9min54
8 Olivier Pain (FRA/Yamaha) +10min10
9 Jakub Przygonski (POL/KTM) +11min02
10 Gerard Farres Guell (ESP/Honda) +11min19
1 Cyril Despres (FRA/KTM) 41hr37min18
2 Francisco Lopez (CHI/KTM) +8min15
3 Ruben Faria (POR/KTM) +14min41
4 Ivan Jakes (SVK/KTM) +24min45
5 Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP/KTM) +43min31
6 Olivier Pain (FRA/Yamaha) +1h 08min14
7 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Honda) +1hr14min56
8 Javier Pizzolito (ARG/Honda) +1hr26min23
9 Frans Verhoeven (NED/Yamaha) +1hr27min54
10 Paulo Goncalves (POR/Husqvarna) +1hr29min46