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Dakar Rally Day 5: KTM versus KTM

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January 4, 2006

Cyril Despres' Gauloises KTM 
 Photo: H. Peuker

Cyril Despres' Gauloises KTM Photo: H. Peuker

Image Gallery (13 images)

January 5, 2006 KTM’s dominance in the motorcycle section of the Dakar Rally continued yesterday with the fierce competition in the class now focussed between the Gauloises (second, third, fifth) and Repsol (first, fourth, sixth) sponsored KTM teams and a monumental battle between the teams’ lead riders, Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) and Marc Coma (Repsol KTM). Yesterday Despres carved 3 minutes and 41 seconds from Coma’s lead during an 800 km stage down the Adraa Valley in Southern Morocco, but Coma still leads the rally by one minute 25 seconds. KTMs fill 13 of the first 14 places on the leaderboard with one third of the rally distance covered, with only the two-wheel-drive Yamaha of David Fretigne (seventh) preventing a complete whitewash of the results.

Despres (Gauloises KTM) won the stage of more than 800 kilometres, almost all run in the Adraa Valley, a dry riverbed that crosses the southern Moroccan region.

Due to the different starting positions, Coma suffered in the special test with his previous advantage over Despres reduced to one minute and a half. The remainder of the race will probably be characterized by this kind of alternating “train game” between the leaders, thanks to the importance of navigation in the modern interpretation of what a Rally is about.

Marc Coma was very calm at the finish. “When I knew the characteristics of the special test”, he said, “I realised that nothing could change today. We all rode almost all the time together, only some time trying to force a little. My main goal was to reach the finish maintaining the leadership. This morning we started very early, at 4AM, and tomorrow we will leave Tan Tan at 1:00 AM. So it is important to preserve our energies. From tomorrow I’m sure that the race will show a completely different face. The tomorrow’s stage is a “classic” of the Dakar, and we used to run this special test at maximum speed, instead due to the new rules we will have to take care about speed”.

Jordi Arcarons, the team manager of the Repsol KTM team cautioned the riders in the press conference, saying,“you have to consider also two more things. In the recent past this stage was run without any navigation problem.”

“This year there is no way point to be reached directly, so you have to take care when finding the right track. Also the temperature is increasing, and this is one of the main phantoms to be watched”.

The remoteness and realities of racing in Africa hit home today, with persistent fog in the region of Tan Tan (the small town which was the destination of the rally today), meaning the aerial fleet which watches over the rally and supplies much of the logistics and transport for the accompanying journalists, could not fly. This meant no results for the press, no information and no satellite communications. “This is Africa, this is the Dakar”, said Etienne Lavigne, the race controller. Results of 350 km 5th stage Special:

1. Despres (Gauloises KTM), 03:47:40h 2. Coma (Repsol KTM), + 03:41 3. Esteve Pujol (Gauloises KTM), + 05:18 4. Faria (KTM), + 08:14 5. De Gavardo (Repsol KTM), + 08:21 6. Caldecott (Repsol KTM), + 10:54 7. Casteu (Gauloises KTM) + 11:03 8. Ullevalseter (KTM), + 11:06 9. Sala (Repsol KTM), + 11:41 10. Fretigne (YAMAHA), + 13:01 11. Katrinak (KTM), + 16:20 12. Blais (Red Bull USAKTM), + 24:17 13. De Azevedo (KTM), + 25:14 14. Gau (Gauloises KTM), + 30:07 15. Farres Geull (YAMAHA), + 31:38 16. Grider (Red Bull USAKTM), + 31:57 17. AgraCarrera (YAMAHA), + 35:52 18. Street (KTM), + 36:41 19. Czachor (YAMAHA), + 39:16 20. Marchini (KTM), + 44:40

Overall Results after fifth stage:

1. Coma (Repsol KTM), 14:09:18h 2. Despres (Gauloises KTM), 14:10:43h, + 01:25 3. Esteve Pujol (Gauloises KTM), 14:15:46h, + 06:28 4. De Gavardo (Repsol KTM), 14:21:10h, + 11:52 5. Casteu (Gauloises KTM), 14:36:15h, + 26:57 6. Caldecott (Repsol KTM), 14:36:12h, + 26:54, Penalty: 02:00 7. Fretigne (YAMAHA), 14:41:22h, + 32:04 8. Sala (Repsol KTM), 14:49:40h, + 40:22 9. Ullevalseter (KTM), 14:51:50 h, + 42:32 10. Katrinak (KTM), 14:59:49 h, + 50:31 11. Blais (Red Bull USAKTM), 15:04:53h, + 55:35 12. Faria (KTM), 15:08:24h, +59:06, Penalty: 12:00 13. De Azevedo (KTM), 15:09:45h, + 01:00:27 14. Agra Carrera (YAMAHA), 15:15:04 h, + 01:05:46 15. Gau (Gauloises KTM), 15:15:51 h, + 01:06:33 16. Farres Guell (YAMAHA), 15:17:45 h, + 01:08:27 17. Street (KTM), 15:32:03 h, + 01:22:45 18. Amaral (KTM), 15:32:21h, + 01:23:03 19. Duclos (KTM), 15:32:35h, + 01:23:17 20. Rivera (KRM), 15:44:47h, +01:35:29

STAGE 3

“For me it was an annoying stage”, said the new race leader, Gauloises KTM Team member Cyril Despres. “Because of a new instrument installed on our console that we have to check continuously. The new rule of the Dakar imposes a speed limit of 160 km/h (about 100 miles per hours), and a monitor connected with the GPS warns us when we are reaching this limit.

“Unfortunately is the same alarm of the “sentinel”, the overtake warning, with the same “beep”. So with this new “entertainment” we are obliged to drive and open the gas intermittently. In addition I had a little problem with the bolts of the instrumentations, and the “traditional” stony tracks of Morocco completed the today’s “Menu”. Anyway I finished third and I reached the finishin first overall and I am in the game. This is the most important thing.

Despres’ main protagonists today were the two “Andys”: Caldecott and Grider. Australian Andy Caldecott won the stage, and American Andy Grider was second.

“Too many rocks and stones everywhere, then many changes of direction“, said the Australian. “I am used to being fast when the track is fast, and I like large open spaces”.

For Andy Grider, the first African stage of the rally was also the first African stage of his career, as he is a Dakar debutant. “Everything was new for me,” said the debutant of the Red Bull KTM Team.

“Our Manager Joe Barker has trained us in the American desert, but this is completely different. Every time you learn something, you feel a bit more confident. I enjoyed the stage. I started fast this morning but the landscape changed and suddenly I felt completely alone in the middle of the desert. I also felt comfortable so I kept the gas open. Then I noticed a cloud of dust in the distance and when I reached it, it was Andy (Caldecott). We rode together until the end of the special test, and there we discovered we were first and the second.”

Finally it was a good day also for Marc Coma, the Spaniard of the Repsol Team, that is second in the overall ranking after the third stage. “As we expected, the battle will probably be between me and Cyril. So in the first days of the race we have to control each other. The most important thing in Morocco is to avoid any risk, like falling or damaging the bike. Then we will see. Of course the level of the other participants has improved, and for sure we will face also other riders.”

Tomorrow’s 600 kilometre stage will reach Ouarzazate with the first dunes that the riders will encounter in the long road to Dakar.

Stage 1 Results

1. Despres (Gauloises KTM) 58:10 min 2. Faria (KTM) 58:14 min + 00:04 3. Coma (Repsol KTM) 58:17 min + 00:07 4. Rodrigues (YAMAHA) 59:00 min + 00:50 5. Esteve Pujol (Gauloises KTM) 59:10 min + 01:00 6. Fretigne (YAMAHA) 59:15 min + 01:05 7. Casteu (Gauloises KTM) 59:36 min + 01:26 8. Pellicer (KTM) 59:54 min + 01:44 9. Caldecott (Repsol KTM) 01:00:35 h + 02:25 10. Goncalves (HONDA) 01:00:45 h + 02:34 11. Rivera (KTM) 01:00:47 h + 02:36 12. Duclos (KTM) 01:01:01 h + 02:51 13. Street (KTM) 01:01:15 h + 03:05 14. De Gavardo (Repsol KTM) 01:01:18 h + 03:08 15. Agra Carrera (YAMAHA) 01:01:45 h + 03:34 16. Verhoefen (YAMAHA) 01:02:11 h + 04:01 17. Farres Guell (YAMAHA) 01:02:16 h + 04:06 18. Van Drunen (YAMAHA) 01:02:16 h + 04:06 19. Toral Garcia (KTM) 01:02:31 h + 04:20 20. Viladoms (KTM) 01:02:50 h + 04:40

Stage 2 Results

1. Faria (KTM) 01:37:07h 2. Esteve Pujol (Gauloises KTM) +01:07 3. Casteu (Gauloises KTM) + 01:28 4. Rodrigues (YAMAHA) + 02:00 5. Coma (Repsol KTM) + 02:08 6. Pellicer (KTM) + 02:28 7. Farres Guell (YAMAHA) + 02:52 8. Goncalves (HONDA) + 03:07 9. Fretigne (YAMAHA) + 03:28 10. Sala (Repsol KTM) + 03:28 11. Despres (Gauloises KTM) + 03:38 12. AgraCarrera (YAMAHA) + 03:44 13. De Gavardo (Repsol KTM) + 03:50 14. Blais (Red Bull USAKTM) + 03:59 15. Mateus (KTM) + 04:01 16. Viladoms (Repsol KTM) + 04:04 17. Grider (Red Bull USAKTM) + 04:34 18. Duclos (KTM) + 04:43 19. Verhoefen (YAMAHA) + 05:05 20. Amaral (KTM) + 05:09

Stage 3 Results:

1. Caldecott (Repsol KTM) 03:21:11h 2. Grider (Red Bull USAKTM) +03:04 3. Despres (Gauloises KTM) +03:06 4. De Gavardo (Repsol KTM) + 03:27 5. Pellicer (KTM) + 04:11 6. Coma (Repsol KTM) + 05:45 7. Amaral (KTM) + 06:28 8. AgraCarrera (YAMAHA)+ 06:46 9. Blais (Red Bull USAKTM) + 06:55 10. Ullevalseter (KTM) + 07:08 11. Gau (Gauloises KTM) + 07:42 12. Fretigne (YAMAHA) + 08:00 13. Duclos (KTM) + 08:27 14. Sala (Repsol KTM) + 08:39 15. Katrinak (KTM) + 08:59 16. Rivera (KTM) + 09:16 17. Casteu (Gauloises KTM) + 09:28 18. Street (KTM) + 09:44 19. Verhoefen (YAMAHA) + 10:22 20. Esteve Pujol (Gauloises KTM) + 11:12 28.Viladoms (Repsol KTM) + 20:47

Overall Motorcycle Results after stage 3:

1. Despres (Gauloises KTM), 06:03:12h 2. Coma (Repsol KTM), 06:04:28h, + 01:16 6. Pellicer (KTM), 06:04:51h, + 01:39 4. Caldecott (Repsol KTM), 06:06:53h, + 03:41, Penalty: 02:00 5. De Gavardo (Repsol KTM), 06:06:53h, + 03:41 6. Casteu (Gauloises KTM), 06:08:50h,+ 05:38 7. Fretigne (YAMAHA), 06:09:01h, + 05:49 8. Grider (Red Bull USAKTM), 06:09:12h, + 06:00 9. Esteve Pujol (Gauloises KTM), 06:09:47h,+ 06:35 10. AgraCarrera (YAMAHA), 06:10:33h, + 07:21 11. Duclos (KTM), 06:12:29h, + 09:17 12. Amaral (KTM), 06:13:23h, + 10:11 13. Blais (Red Bull USAKTM), 06:13:35h, + 10:23 14. Street (KTM), 06:15:01h, + 11:49 15. Gau (Gauloises KTM), 06:15:13, + 12:01 16. Katrinak (KTM), 06:16:23, + 13:11 17. Sala (Repsol KTM) 02:46:56 + 9:32 18. Farres Guell (YAMAHA), 06:17:04h, + 13:52 19. Verhoefen (YAMAHA), 06:17:56h, + 14:44, Penalty: 02:00 20. Rivera (KTM), 06:18:17h, + 15:05

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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