Minneapolis – Xtremplus’ Will Alcaraz is no stranger to the Dakar podium and this past Saturday, he graced it for the third time winning the prestigious and challenging race in his RZR 900. Xtremeplus would bring four RZR teams to Dakar with two finishing in first and second.
The Rally Dakar 2014 has run its course. It was a fight to the finish for the TEAM HRC riders as the 36th edition of the world’s toughest race drew to a close. Hélder Rodrigues finished the highest of the Honda riders in fifth place, with Joan Barreda in seventh with five stage victories under his belt. All the Honda CRF450 RALLYs finished the gruelling rally with the same engines, signalling a huge success for the brand and highlighting the machine’s great potential.
VALPARAISO – The Dakar Rally 2014 is over. Many labeled this edition as the toughest to date in South America. The Riwald Dakar Team showed the speed of their HRX Ford with some impressive top 10 results, but also struggled with bad luck. When Bernhard ten Brinke crossed the finish line on Saturday afternoon happiness and satisfaction was nevertheless the biggest emotion.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Olivier Pain has taken a hard won podium with third overall in the 2014 Dakar Rally today after 13 extremely challenging stages. Pain engaged in a close battle with teammate Cyril Despres over the last 157 kilometres of the final special, coming home in second to finally win the third place on the podium. Pain had been 40 minutes back from the podium on the rest day, making his attack on the second half of the Rally even more impressive.
Despres had been on track to win his third special aboard his YZ450F machine in a week today to finish just behind Olivier in fourth place in the overall standings. Unfortunately a five minute penalty for speeding resulted in a drop from first on the special to fifth. Despres retained fourth in the standings, less than 15 minutes from second place. The five-time Dakar winner made an impressive comeback over the rally, having been in 12th at the end of stage five and 11th on the rest day. Despite some issues and time penalties, the 2013 champion’s first Dakar with Yamaha showed great potential, with riding hours comparable to the first and second placed riders.
Red Bull KTM factory rider Marc Coma coasted into Valparaiso, Chile, on Saturday afternoon to pick up his fourth individual Dakar title and to secure KTM’s thirteenth title in this most toughest of rallies. Factory teammate Jordi Viladoms made it a memorable day for the Austrian manufacturer by finishing second overall.
Factory teammate Jordi Viladoms made it a memorable day for the Austrian manufacturer by finishing second overall.
It was perhaps Coma’s finest victory in his Dakar Career as he led the overall standings from Stage Five. He completed the 13-stage, near 9,000 km course in 54 hours 50.53, almost two hours ahead of second placed Viladoms.
It was a troublesome stage for TEAM HRC in Copiapo, where Helder Rodrigues finished fourth and Javier Pizzolito tenth, on a day which Joan Barreda’s chances of taking a podium place in Valparaiso ended.
The penultimate day of the Rally Dakar was played out first over rocky terrain before reaching a 150 km stretch of dunas outside Copiapó. Towering dunes in which one had to pay strict attention to the navigation.
Portuguese rider Hélder Rodrigues rode into Copiapó aboard his Honda CRF450 RALLY in fourth place. ‘Estrelinha’ now lies in fifth overall place just ten minutes away from a final place on the podium. Rodrigues will battle it out every inch of the way before the race winds up in Valparaíso tomorrow.
A great performance today by the Yamaha Factory Racing riders saw Cyril Despres take his second special stage victory of the 2014 Dakar Rally. Despres had moved into the lead of the special by the second checkpoint and moved into a neck and neck battle with Coma, managing the fastest time of the two to seal the win. The stage victory moves Despres from sixth up to fourth in the overall standings, just 14 minutes from second position with one 350km special stage left to run tomorrow, El Salvador to La Serena.
Fellow rider Olivier Pain was less than six minutes behind Despres in third position. Pain’s result was doubly impressive considering the Frenchman had not one but two falls during the stage, bending his handlebars in the first. The third place finish moves Pain up to third overall in the standings and a provisional podium finish for the 2014 Dakar.
Despite earlier issues in the Rally with fuel vapor locking on the SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HST Gordini, the issue that put Gordon and his team out of the 35th Dakar Rally was a compromised air filtration system.
Robby Gordon and the SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires Gordini began Thursday’s 11th stage of the 2014 Dakar Rally with the same tenacity and determination that they start any race. The day’s goal was to capture the team’s first stage victory of Gordon’s 10th attempt at Dakar glory.
Just 18 kilometers into the stage, however, Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch noticed a severe fuel contamination issue and returned to Antofagasta, Chile where the stage began. Once there, the team went to work for more than 10 hours to diagnose and repair the damage the fuel created.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cyril Despres enjoyed another day battling at the front of the lead group of riders today on stage 11 of the 2014 Dakar Rally. The exhausting ride covered 605km of timed special stage featuring every kind of terrain, from dunes to rios. The five-time Dakar winner opened the piste for 400km before dropping slightly to finish just 2mins 31secs behind Marc Coma in first, though Dakar organizers assessed a 15-minute penalty for Coma that gave Despres the eventual win.
Teammate Olivier Pain was also on form, completing the 11th special stage in third position behind Despres, 5mins 28secs from the front. The result moves the Frenchman closer to a possible Dakar podium. Sitting in fourth in the overall standings he is now just 13mins 44secs from third.