KTM Racing on Monday announced that the company’s factory rider Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez of Chile has been forced to withdraw from the upcoming Desafio Inca Rally, part of the Dakar Series, due to start on October 3, 2013.
The popular Chilean has decided not to ride in the Desafio Inca because of recurring back pain. Although a tough decision, the break will give him a short additional recuperation time ahead of the final round of the World Cross Countries Rally Championship in Morocco scheduled to start on October 13.
KTM factory team manager Alex Doringer said Lopez was very disappointed not to be riding in the Inca, a chance to race in front of his many fans and on terrain very similar to the desert plains at home in Chile. “Clearly Chaleco is disappointed not to be racing and he has promised to return to compete in front of his South American fans at the first available opportunity.” Doringer added that the team had decided that Chaleco should not risk anything ahead of the upcoming Morocco Rally, which represents the factory team’s final and very important preparation for the Dakar 2014.
Lopez finished overall third in the 2013 Dakar rally on an all KTM podium together with winner Cyril Despres and second placed teammate Ruben Faria. He also won four of the 14 stages. He also competed in the 2013 Sealine Rally in Qatar, finishing fourth and in the 2013 Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina here he was second. Lopez races in the official KTM factory team together with Marc Coma, Ruben Faria and Kurt Caselli.