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Despres shows French flair

Roma stages a comeback Endurance alone is not sufficient without a little attention to detail. On the Dakar, this point was proved by Cyril Despres, who took command of the general standings and won the day's stage by remaining calm and collected. In terms of performance, his confrontation with Marc Coma for a long time seemed like a game of ping-pong: advantage to the Frenchman by 20 seconds at CP1, then to the Spaniard by 14 seconds after 117 km. The likelihood of a slender victory for one rider or the other seemed to g row as the stage went on. However, opening the road is never an easy task. At the junction between the routes dedicated to the bikes/quads and the cars/trucks, after 164 kilometres of racing, Coma made the wrong choice and followed the car/truck route for more than 4 kilometres. Despite his efforts to try and make up for this lost time, his about-turn cost him 13 minutes at the finishing line. On completion of this 27th special stage victory, Cyril Despres now finds himself leading the rally with an advantage of 10'12” over his biggest rival.

The brave challengers to Coma and Despres once again had to admit that there is a chasm separating them from the two men. In the end, Frans Verhoeven picked up 2nd place on the day's special. The performance was encouraging for the new Sherco that he is riding, but the Dutchman still came in 8'37” behind Despres, whilst Paulo Gonçalves took only 2 seconds more. More importantly, the lesson about being calm and collecte d, two essential qualities on the Dakar, was a tough one for! two pre tenders to the podium, who will be leaving the rally by the back door; or rather by his assistance truck for Jakub Przygonsky, whose engine blew after 68 km, and by the medical helicopter for Quinn Cody, who broke his collar bone following a spectacular fall after 173 km of the special stage.

It is just as vital to be consistent and regular on four wheels, where even the smallest of mistakes can cost several precious minutes. Stephane Peterhansel made significant progress at a decent pace in the special, enabling him to put in the best intermediate times at the 41 km and 163 km points. However, in the last 50 kilometres, the main favourite in the car category was halted twice by punctures. In the end, he lost more than 6 minutes to Nani Roma, who took it upon himself to offer the X-Raid a second victory for a Mini on the Dakar, after the one achieved by Novitskiy on the first day. What's more, the German team can be happy with its day's work, since Krzysztof Holowc zyc, who was second today, takes the lead in the general standings.

As regards, the race hierarchy, there is still plenty of competition because Robby Gordon, with the day's 5th best time on the special, holds on to 2nd place in the general standings, only 54” behind the Polish driver. Also, whilst the Hummer has been able to keep up with and even dominate most of the Minis, the potential of the Toyota Hilux is also starting to be conveyed by progress in the standings. In his own discrete and efficient way, Giniel De Villiers completes the provisional podium, made up of 3 different teams. The winner of the Dakar 2009 is only 1'40” behind Holowczyc in the general standings.

Innanzitutto dobbiamo segnalare il ritiro di ieri di Alex Zanotti. Il sammarinese della TM ha dapprima sgretolato la mousse posteriore e gli è uscito lo pneumatico da cerchio. Ha trovato una camera d'aria di fortuna, ma ha bucato di nuovo. Dopo aver smontato per la terza volta la ruota posteriore, sotto un sole terribile, è finalmente ripartito e a quel punto la sua moto ha iniziato ad avere problemi di alimentazione. Stremato dalla fatica a questo punto Alex ha dovuto chiamare i soccorsi, dato che erano tre ore che non beveva e la situazione stava diventando rischiosa. Ritiro ieri anche per Maurizio Frigerio e per il camion di Claudio Bellina.
Nella tappa di oggi è stato ancor una volta Alessandro Botturi il più veloce tra le moto. Il forte endurista ha trovato pane per i propri denti nelle pietraie di oggi ed ha concluso al 14° posto. Paolo Ceci, 32° al traguardo, ha sofferto molto l'altitudine ed è caduto sette volte praticamente da fermo. A quel punto a pensato solamente a finire la tappa. Buona gara oggi per Filippo Ciotti, 49°, mentre Edouard Boulanger è 74°
Tra le auto la migliore è stata la Mitsubishi di Stefano Marrini, 91°, seguita da Silvio e Tito Totani in 93^ posizione. Prosegue anche la marcia di Edo Mossi, che guida la sua Toyota da solo, 99° al traguardo si San Juan.
Chi invece oggi ha fatto faville è stato Miki Biasion, vincitore delle combattutissima categoria dei camion sul suo Iveco.

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