The first, long special of the 2012 Dakar went to Marc Coma, 1’18 ahead of Cyril Despres (KTM Red Bull) with Barreda third at 2’33. Overall Cyril moves up from 12th to third, 2’52 behind leader Coma, with Lopez second at 2.30. Cyril’s team mate, Ruben Faria, finished the special in 15th place and is this evening 13th overall.
Cyril Despres: “The first part of the special was very fast and starting 12th this morning I was a little concerned of getting stuck in everybody’s dust. As it turned out my ‘colleagues’ were all very considerate and let me through with virtually no hold up. Then I made a micro-error in the dried up bed part of the special and dropped the bike – fortunately without damage. The final part of the day was a short, 12 kilometres of so section, of dunes. By the time we got to them it was really hot, about 40 degrees, and the bike cut out a couple of times. Despite that I am pretty happy with how the day went. Apparently I still know how to turn the throttle in the right direction!”