KTM’s Cyril Despres emerged as stage two winner and has taken an early lead in the overall standings on the second day of the Desafio Litoral, the six day rally in northern Argentina that is part of the Dakar Challenge Series.
His push in day two on his KTM 450 Rally bike gives him a narrow four minute lead over KTM rider Jakub Przgonski of Poland in the overall standings. Monday’s stage winner Chaleco Lopez of Chile finished third and is now behind the Polish rider by about half a minute. The day’s ride put three KTMs in the top three places in both the stage and the overall standings.
Speaking from Posadas after the rally, KTM’s support staff member Stefan Huber said riders had been faced with heavy rain on Tuesday that made riding almost impossible. “It was raining so hard and everything was so slippery almost all the riders had crashes today,” Huber said. KTM’s EnduroCross specialist Taddy Blazusiak did not finish after crashing and banging his shoulder. He is at the Desafio Litoral only to experience rally for the first time and may start in tomorrow’s stage. The team will decide in the morning if he is to ride, base don how his shoulder is feeling.
As well as the extreme wet and slippery conditions, Day two presented riders with two separate challenges over the timed sections of the course. The first started over hard paced terrain but soon disappeared into a maze of tracks through grassed areas and pine plantations. This was followed by a neutral link stretch of a small section of mountaineous jungle before returning to traverse the plantations. The second timed stretch took riders over a rocky and steep area, through a river and then into another area of narrow fast passages. Riders had to pace themselves carefully and be prepared for quick changes in tempo. It was a day that absolute concentration and was a test of both man and machine.
While all top three riders are Dakar veterans of repute, they are all experiencing something quite new in the type of terrain that the Desafio Litoral is offering. They all remarked after day one that riding at speed through thick jungle where the surface could be as slick as ice was very challenging.
Day Three of the rally takes competitors Posadas to Bella Vista
Stage Two Results: Posadas -> Posadas
1, Cyril Despres, France, KTM, 2 hours 49.40
2, Jakub Przgonski, Poland, KTM at 1.50
3, Chaleco López, Chile, KTM at 6.26
4, Mauricio Gomez, Argentina, Yamaha at 31.02
5, Javier Pizzolito, Argentina, Honda at 31.34
6, Pablo Rodriguez, Argentina, Honda at 41.31
7, Jeremias Israel, Chile, Honda at 41.31
8, Adrian Sansaloni, Argentina, Beta at 1:16.40
9, Demian Guiral, Argentina, Honda at 1:19.24
10, Patricio Cabrera, Chile, Kawasaki at 1:20.48
Taddy Blazusiak, KTM DNF
Standings after Stage Two (of six)
1, Despres 7 hours 03.59
2, Przgonski 7:08.12
3, Lopez 7:08.36
4, Gomez 7:47.50
5, Israel 8:02.10
6, Pizzolito 8:15.52
7, Rodrigues, 8:16.35