Copiapo, Chile – Today’s stage went extremely well for the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / MAPEI HUMMER until the last checkpoint where Robby Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch would find themselves stuck, losing precious minutes from their lead.

Gordon led the charge to start Stage 12 heading back into the country of Chile. The Rally started at 6 AM local time to cross over the Andes making it an exceptionally long liaison to the start of the 319KM Special. The competitors would race into the dunes of the Atacama desert, a place that Gordon has won multiple stages in the past.

Yesterday, the Fiambalá stage was neutralized at CP1 after the flood in the Rio Grande, which made it impossible to cross this part traced in the special stage.

“We were part of the group that crossed the three flooded rivers, explains Eric. At CP1 we were in the 8th place, and we were at the special´s rhythm. Unfortunately, we drove to the bivouac to take care of our Trophy Truck.”

The race direction inserted trucks into the cars category classification. Eric and Jean took the 17th position at the start this morning.

“Our main mission was to leave trucks behind as fast as we could. With all the dust, it is impossible to drive behind them, visibility is null. We made it at km 20, they were behind us.

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”.