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This is the single-news section of the marathonrally.com news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.









Dakar 2009: Dutch Frans Verhoeven tames the dunes




This 9th stage of the Dakar held all its promises with spectacular landscapes and imposing dunes. It was the first act of a probably decisive trilogy that will take place in the Atacama Desert, and was won by Dutchman Frans Verhoeven, even though he started in 33rd position this morning. Marc Coma remains in the lead in the general standings.

The bike race started very early this morning, without the fourth-placed rider in the general standings and winner of the special stage in San Rafael, Jonah Street. Having injured a wrist, the American was forced to withdraw, in spite of being second to Coma on leaving Argentina.

After an introduction to the South American dunes several days ago, but on the other side of the Andes, the bikers got to grips with the first part of a sandy triple whammy on this edition of the Dakar, with enough dunes to drive even the bravest crazy. Though, this was not the case for the leading lights on two wheels in this rally. The three leading performers from the day before, namely Despres, Coma and Lopez soon caught up with each other and spent the day together, with Coma thus neutralizing Despres.

However, it was left to other riders to create the headlines. Firstly, having started 10 minutes after Despres, David Frétigné toiled alone to get close to the leading trio. The Yamaha rider posted the best times at the first three CPs (after 131 km, 218 km and 235 km). Yet, the situation was rocked during the last part of the special stage, where the riders had to confront a section of dunes.

Secondly, Frans Verhoeven, who started in 33rd position, surprised everyone by putting in the best time after the 399-km mark. Thirty kilometers later, it was indeed the Dutchman who picked up his second special stage victory after his success in Puerto Madryn. Verhoeven beat Frétigné by 3.09 and Lopez by 3.40.

In the general standings, Coma now possesses a lead of 1 hour and 4 minutes over Frétigné and 1 hour and 34 minutes over title holder Despres, a comfortable cushion indeed.

2009/01/12 | 20:32 CET | Editor: MR/HS/ASO






















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