|SA-Dakar: Cyril Despres starts with double - Coma second in front of Casteu.|
The Frenchman Cyril Despres cemented his place at the top of the general standings with a second consecutive victory in the Dakar Rally 2011. He needed 03:19:11 hours in the second stage from Cordoba to San Miguel in front of the Spanish World Champion Marc Coma and the French David Casteu.
Already delighted with the performance of Ruben Faria during the afternoon, Cyril Despres learned yesterday evening that in fact he had picked up victory on stage 1, after a one minute penalty was handed out to his team-mate for breaking the speed limit. As a result, the title holder tackled the second day of the race as leader, with the responsibility of opening the road.
Even the day´s task was not the most demanding in terms of navigation, Despres succeeded in achieving the hardest trick in rally-raid racing: staying out in front from start to finish, as well as opening up the gap a little on his closest rivals. On completion of the 300-km special, the Frenchman boasted the best time, winning the 25th stage in his career on the Dakar. It is only the third time that he has triumphed when opening the road.
Whilst it is premature to make predictions, a traditional duel is starting to be outlined with Marc Coma, who finished 1:49 behind on the stage, trailing 2:35 minutes in the general standings. Ruben Faria, in 3rd place, is already 6:13 behind.
Furthermore, the day held revelations about the capacity of David Casteu. The Sherco rider, after a discrete first stage, was the quickest pursuer of the KTM bikes on the route to Tucuman. Trailing the leading duo by 3:46, he climbed up to 6th position in the general standings, but remains behind Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez and Paulo Goncalves.
The battle between Aprilia, BMW and Sherco is underway and might not just be a battle for the crumbs left by KTM. However, Pal-Anders Ullevalseter, runner-up last year, will have difficulty getting involved, in light of the trouble he is having adapting to his new machine: "I miss my 690cc" joked the Norwegian, 29th in the general standings after only two stages.
2011/01/03 | 18:20 CET | ARTICLE: MR/ASO