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The second day of the 2014 Dakar Rally proved to be a challenging one for Yamaha’s Dakar riders in Argentina as they tackled Stage 2, San Luis to San Rafael. The day’s riding included some of the fastest sections of the rally and the competitors first taste of sand dunes. Yamaha Factory Racing rider Cyril Despres had a day to forget after a fall cost several minutes. Luckily the defending Dakar champion was unhurt and quick to continue on his Yamaha YZ450F machine, wrapping up the stage in tenth to take eight overall at the end of the day.

Olivier Pain was the next rider to finish, taking 12th on the 359km Special stage to sit 13th overall. Yamaha Netherlands Verhoeven rider Frans Verhoeven completed a second steady day to finish the stage in 16th, taking 15th overall. Michael Metge was the last Yamaha Factory Racing rider in the Special stage rankings, taking 22nd. Metge’s GPs is currently being investigated after the Frenchman was penalised 41 minutes for an alleged late arrival at the bivouac yesterday.

The final fourteenth stage of the thirty-fifth edition of the Dakar wound up today in Santiago. Frenchman Cyril Despres became overall winner for the fifth time in a race that had been wide open right up until the end of the last  special test. Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain was once again a main protagonist in this incredible rally with a third place in today’s stage, for Spaniard Joan Barreda taking the team’s tally to twelve podium places. Barreda himself has scored  four partial stage wins, showing just how competitive the Husqvarna TE449RR by Speedbrain is.

The final standings don’t really do justice to Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain or its riders, who were excessively punished for insignificant but costly technical setbacks which had previously not occurred all season. Joan Barreda, in particular, should have finished higher after he dominated the early stages; likewise Alessandro Botturi, who until three days ago was in fifth place.

Red Bull KTM factory rider Cyril Despres of France on Saturday picked up his fifth Dakar trophy when he crossed the line of the 2013 edition of the world’s most famous rally as the winner after more than 8000 km. It was KTM’s twelfth consecutive title and KTM riders took all five top overall paces.

Despres’ long time ‘water carrier’ or factory support rider Ruben Faria of Portugal won the final stage and finished second overall, ten minutes 43 behind the leader. Chilean Chaleco Lopez (KTM) was third overall while Slovak KTM rider Ivan Jakes was fourth and KTM factory rider Joan Pedrero of Spain was fifth.

The French rider, a veteran of this amazing race said it all after securing his fifth title: “I went for it, with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you,” he said. “Little navigational mistakes, perhaps fewer than the others, taking care of my motorcycle and being in a good team. In the end, I’ve got a good reason to be very happy. The day when winning the Dakar becomes easy, it won’t be interesting any more. And this day is still far! It’s too long, it’s too tough, it’s too hot. It’s too cold. You’ve got to get up early in the morning. You’ve got to find your way out of the maze of dunes in Peru and Chile. You’ve got to tackle the stones and cactuses on the courses near Córdoba. It’s just too tricky for it to be easy to win. And it’s even better when you win a difficult race. I’m always focused on what I have to do. We’re up against a grueling element, the desert. Then there are the stones, the Andes… and we experience them. It’s as real as it gets.” Despres won Stage three and led the overall standings from Stage 10.

Faria too was thrilled to finish second. “Yesterday I lost second place and I thought that just being on the podium would be great for me; to be Cyril Despres’ lieutenant. I didn’t believe it could happen that I could finish second. It’s inconceivable.”

Alex Doringer KTM’s Factory Team Manager praised Despres’ riding, his tactics and strategy and said after the race that he was very proud of his entire team. “The result is amazing. The whole team did an exceptional job and we have to thank them all. We believed in our bikes and we believed in our riders. All seven of our factory riders finished and to have five KTM riders on the top of the list was a fantastic result.”

The Dakar 2013 had more than its share of dramatic moments for the KTM Factory team, including the last minute withdrawal just before the race by Despres’ long time teammate and rival Marc Coma. Coma’s injured shoulder, banged up in a crash in the Morocco Rally late last year was still giving him problems and doctors declared he was not fit enough to compete.

Despres also suffered a major setback in the marathon Stages 7-8 during which riders were unable to call upon outside mechanical help from their team. He was put back on track after being offered the engine from KTM supported rider Marek Dabrowski of the Orlen Team and by the collective effort of his fellow KTM riders who banded together to work at night and change out the engine themselves in the riders’ bivouac.

Jakub Przygonski of Poland and Riaan Van Niekerk of South Africa of KTM’s Factory B team finished eleventh and thirteenth. Kurt Caselli, KTM’s American rider drafted in to ride for injured Coma and Darryl Curtis of South Africa both recovered well from crashes and technical setbacks to put adversity behind them and finished a creditable 31st and 32nd.

Teamwork was on the agenda for the Red Bull KTM Factory team in Stage 12 of the Dakar 2013 when overall leader Cyril Despres worked with teammate and support rider Ruben Faria of Portugal to help him gain some overall time on KTM rival Chaleco Lopez, now racing on his home territory of Chile.

The tactics worked well and at the end of the stage Despres and Faria had secured 1-2 in the overall standings with just two stages to go to Saturday’s finish line in Santiago, Chile. Faria trailed Despres by 5 minutes 39 in the overall standings when riders arrived at the finish in Copiapo but more importantly, the Portuguese rider had gained around three minutes advantage on Lopez.

Red Bull KTM factory rider and title-holder Cyril Despres fought a close battle with Spaniard Joan Barreda in Stage 10 of the Dakar 2013 to finish just one minute 15 behind his rival. The French rider now to secure a narrow lead in the overall standings in front of factory teammate Ruben Faria of Portugal, who secured eighth place in the stage.

Despres, who is now looking settled and determined to go for his fifth Dakar title made the breakthrough on Monday when he won the longest stage in this year’s edition after an eventful first half of the rally. But he was quick to brush off suggestions that his luck had changed and told journalists it was much more “..about experience and preparation and training and bringing all the right elements together at the right moment”.

When gearbox trouble struck for Cyril Despres 30km into the marathon stage of the bike race it looked like his dream of a fifth Dakar victory was over for this year. However, help arrived from Orlen Team’s Marek Dabrowski who offered to swap engines with Cyril.

After Stage Eight the gap between Cyril and the top of the timings in the bike race stands at 24m26s. Now Cyril has the Rest Day to plot his tactics for clawing back this time in the second week of the race.

“With the help of Marek and my team-mates Ruben Faria, Kurt Caselli and Joan Pedrero we took two hours to change both engines. It goes without saying that I owe all the guys a huge debt of gratitude. It was a very eventful day at the Dakar that’s for sure.”

Nasser and co-driver Lucas Cruz had made a bright start to the stage before the heavens opened and the day turned into a washout. Nasser’s Buggy was the fastest car over the first 100km before Stage Eight came to an unscheduled stop.

The ultimate decision of the race stewards was to hand all of the cars that were unable to complete the stage the same time as the last competitor who finished before the neutralisation. This revised result keeps Nasser in second place overall and trailing Stephane Peterhansel by just 3m14s.

“It was our plan to come to the Rest Day with the lead but sometimes we must accept what will be. There’s still a long way to go at this race and after the Rest Day I will start the following stage as the sixth car. This will give me a great chance to make up some time in this race.”

For more information, visit www.Redbull.com/en/motorsport.

Teams and riders in the Dakar caravan spent Sunday working on their bikes and preparing for the second half of the 8000 km trip on a north-south trajectory from Lima to Santiago, Chile after what has been an eventful first eight stages that has left all options open.

The 2013 edition of the Dakar Rally was always going to be eventful for the KTM factory teams right from the moment it was clear that Marc Coma stalwart team member to his biggest rival, Cyril Despres of France would not be competing. Coma was ruled out of contention around a week before the start of the rally when doctors declared he was not fully recovered from a shoulder injury incurred in a crash during the Morocco Rally. It was a bitter disappointment to the Spanish rider, and that left the team and fans alike bereft of what is always a magnificent fight between these teammates who are recognized as the two best riders in the world.

The 34th edition of the Dakar Rally gets underway on January 5, 2013 in Lima, Peru. Kärcher is present for the first time as the official partner of the KTM Rally Factory Team, which starts the toughest rally on the planet with top favorite and title defender Cyril Despres.

For many KTM customers all over the world, the combination of orange and the Kärcher yellow is a natural thing. Now for the first time this partnership has been secured in the KTM factory team with a sponsorship partnership. So at the Dakar 2013 the factory bikes of Cyril Despres und Ruben Faria, Joan Pedrero and Kurt Caselli (the replacement rider for the injured Marc Coma) will feature the Kärcher brand directly under the KTM logo. The common goal for the partners: KTM’s twelfth consecutive Dakar victory!

Cyril, how do you rate your chances of being able to defend your title and take your fifth Dakar Rally victory without your team colleague and hardest opponent Marc Coma? “Well I would say they are as good as they have been on previous years. I have been training hard and although I didn’t do so many races this year I won both the big ones I entered. After that there are so many things that could happen, so many things that in a race like the Dakar you can’t predict, that I am always cautious. I always say that my biggest rival on the Dakar isn’t the other competitors but the desert itself. That is the thing on the Dakar that no one can master!”

KTM, the brand whose factory teams and bikes have sealed eleven consecutive Dakar Rally victories announced in a press conference in Barcelona on Friday that one of its key riders, Spaniard Marc Coma will be unable to ride in the 2013 edition of the world’s most famous rally.

Coma, who injured his shoulder in an accident in the Morocco Rally in October is not completely fit. The team has therefore decided he should not tackle the event that involves more than 8000 km of perilous riding over the world’s toughest offroad terrain through Peru, Argentina and Chile.

“Marc is one of our key riders and together with his teammate Cyril Despres has giving KTM the last seven Dakar titles. While we are disappointed that he is unable to ride, the health and welfare of our factory riders is the most important consideration. If he is not 100 percent fit, it is better for him to sit out the 2013 rally,” said KTM factory team manager Alex Doringer. Coma, winner of three Dakar titles and the reigning World Cross Country World Championship is, together with his teammate Despres, recognized as one of the world’s finest exponents of rally sport.

KTM factory rider and multiple Dakar Rally winner Cyril Despres of France put his head down and found the necessary power to take overall victory in the Morocco Rally on Saturday in the final of the six stages.

Despres took the victory by almost seven minutes ahead of Spain’s Joan Barreda while KTM rider Chaleco Lopez of Chile was overall third.

The six-stage rally in the desert of Morocco was the final rally of the year and the next time Despres and his teammates compete with me in the 2013 Dakar Rally that starts on January 5 in Lima, Peru.