The first of the 2014 Dakar Rally Marathon stages saw Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cyril Despres make up valuable time today with an impressive ride on his YZ450F machine to close the gap to the front. The five-time Dakar winner’s experience and race craft saw him make short work of the day’s timed riding, finishing in second position, 4m’41s behind the leader. The result moves him up the overall standings from eighth to second, now just 13m04s behind the current Rally leader. The special was reduced in distance at the last minute to 243km to avoid instable terrain at the start of the route.
As part of the marathon stage, the riders are unaided tonight in their own bivouac and are responsible for the maintenance of their own bikes before continuing tomorrow.