-- Dakar Stage Six - Arica to Calama total distance 767 km – 313 km
liaison and 464 km special
Results Stage Six - Arica to Calama total distance 767 km – 313 km liaison and 464 km special
1, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, KTM three hours 36.21
2, Ruben Faria, Portugal KTM 3:38.55 (at 2.22)
3, Cyril Despres, France, KTM 3:40.099.32 ((at 3.48)
4, David Casteu, France, Yamaha 3:51.51
5, Alessandro Botturi, Italy, Husqvarna, 3:41.56
6, Israel Esquerre, Chile, Honda, 3:42.34
7, Frans Verhoeven, Netherlands, Yamaha, 3:43.02
8, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Honda, 3:43.02
9, Joan Pedrero, Spain, KTM, 3:43.43
10, Olivier Pain, France, Yamaha, 3:43.43
Overall Standings after Stage Six
1, Pain, 15:35.23
2, Despres, KTM, 15:37.45 (trails by 2 minutes 22)
3, Casteu, 15:40.11
4, Lopez, KTM, 15:41.29
5, Faria, KTM, 15:43.58
6, Botturi, 15.47.25
7, Przygonski, KTM, 15:54.38
8, Svitko, KTM, 15:57.31
Pos. Name N° Make Time variation Penalty
1 PAIN (FRA) 9 YAMAHA 15:35:23 - -
17 FAGGOTTER (AUS) 123 YAMAHA 16:13:28 0:38:05 -
22 GRABHAM (AUS) 57 KTM 16:43:12 1:07:49 -
30 STRANGE (AUS) 131 HONDA 17:23:46 1:48:23 -
49 SMITH (AUS) 156 HONDA 19:15:27 3:40:04 0:15:00
71 PAVEY (AUS) 51 HUSQVARNA 20:42:48 5:07:25 -
-- KTM Report
Red Bull KTM’s Cyril Despres delivered what was necessary in Stage Six of the 2-13 Dakar Rally to finish third in what was one of the longest stages in this year’s edition and to trim the deficit between him and the current overall leader to a mere two minutes 22 seconds.
Despres: “I ate quite a lot of dust having started fifth this morning, but then I caught up with the stage leaders at the end of the first section. It was very quick, a WRC type route and finally there were some tracks and rocks. It was really nice to ride and on the second section, we all stuck together in single file. All in all, it was generally a good special and it's great to be in Chile!” Despres and the other KTm factory riders are competing on the KTM 450 Rally bike.
With eight more stages to go in the 8000 km marathon, everything is still to play for and the KTM title defender is now well positioned ahead of two more challenging stages before the one reprieve rest day on Sunday.
Some observers said that Thursday was the stage that signaled the real start of the major battle for supremacy as riders raced from Arica on the Chilean border to Calama. It was a massive test of physical and mental endurance and the riders had a grueling dawn start to the 767 km, 464 km of which was in two times specials. They also faced a time zone adjustment after having passed the border from Peru into Chile that robbed them on additional sleep. The stage took them into the notorious Atacama Desert, the driest place on the planet including an encounter with the dreaded fesh-fesh, the typical powder fine sand. Sand and dunes made up two thirds of the stage, making it all that more strength sapping for the riders.
Fastest KTM official factory rider in Thursday’s stage was Despres’ KTM factory support rider Ruben Faria of Portugal who finished just two minutes 34 behind the leader, Chilean desert specialist ‘Chaleco’ Lopez, also riding a KTM. Fourth fastest was KTM’s Kurt Caselli, the American factory rider standing in for the injured Marc Coma to secure the top four positions for KTM riders.
Faria said his tactic was to make the most of the hard terrain in the beginning of the stage. “I set of in thirteenth place and tried to go flat out, but I wasn't able to go as fast as I wanted with all the dust on the special. I found a good pace in the second half of the special and moved up.”
By the time the caravan of competitors had reached the bivouac in Calama they had completed 3000 km of the total of 8000 km making up this year’s edition and were at an altitude of 2500 m in the Andes.
Looking at the overall standings, after Stage Six there are five KTM riders in the top 10 and 10 in the top 20. This includes all of the riders in both KTM factory teams (Despres, Caselli, Faria and Pedrero in the main team and South African duo Darryl Curtis and Riaan Van Niekerk and Jakub Przygonski of Poland from the Factory B Team.
Stage Seven demands even more strength and concentration and takes riders from Calama to Salta (In Argentina) over a total distance of 806 km - a liaison of 586 km and 202 km of timed special. it is planned as a designated marathon stage, which means riders bikes cannot be serviced throughout the state. This however is to be confirmed at the team meeting on Thursday evening.
-- HRC Report
This first special stage held in Chile took the competitors to the Atacama desert, a plateau that covers a 600-mile strip of land on the Pacific coast west of the Andes Mountains, famous for the torrid temperatures, sand dunes and salt lakes.
The Dakar is getting tougher and tougher and riders faced today a 455-km stage, split in two parts by 100 km of liaison. The first stage was characterized by big rolling dunes at the sea level, while the second part climbed up to 3,200 meters, before reaching the mining town of Calama at 2,200 meters of altitude.
Overall it was a very long day that stressed the competitors’ bodies as well as the machines. Endurance alone is not sufficient as riders need to focus always at their road books and ride with an accurate navigation.
Chilean rider Chaleco Lopez won the first fully Chilean special stage of the year in front Portuguese Ruben Faria (2’34 behind) and Cyril Despres, third at 03’48, while Helder Rodrigues finished 7th , 06’.58” behind the stage winner. Argentinian Javier Pizzolito rode with a good pace and finished 16th, 11’37” from Lopez. It was a positive day for Johnny Campbell in 24th, still suffering from sore ribs.
With today’s results Helder Rodrigues gained some valuable positions and sits in 9th place overall, Javier Pizzolito in 13th and Johnny Campbell in 77th, due the problem he had on the third stage.
Helder Rodrigues SS6 7th +06’58”, 9th in the Overall: “It was a long stage and climbing uphill we had the first taste of the altitude. Tomorrow it will be tougher as the stage will be averagely between 3,400 and 4,000 meters. With 4 hours sleep last night, it will be important to have a good rest and be ready for tomorrow’s marathon stage”.
Javier Pizzolito SS6 16th +11’37”, 13th in the Overall: “I rode consistently without taking too many risks as it is still a long race and it’s important not to make mistakes. I enjoyed particularly the sandy dunes and I’m ready for tomorrow’s marathon stage”.
Johnny Campbell SS6 24th +23’41”, 77th in the Overall: “I enjoyed the big rolling dunes in the first part of the stage. In the second part the machine started to feel the altitude and I also could feel it, as it was more difficult to breath. It will important now to take a good rest as tomorrow we will climb up to 4,975 metres”.
Unofficial Lap Times SS6 1 Lopez (KTM), 2. Faria (KTM) + 2’34”, 3. Despres (KTM) +3’48” … 7. Rodrigues Team HRC (Honda) +6’58, 16. Pizzolito Team HRC (Honda) +11’37, 24. Campbell Team HRC (Honda) +23’41”
Overall Classification: 1. Pain (Yamaha) 2. Despres (KTM) +2’22”, 3. Casteu (Yamaha) +4’48”…. 9.Rodrigues Team HRC (Honda) +25’23”, 13. Pizzolito Team HRC (Honda) +29’49”, 77. Campbell Team HRC (Honda) +5h23’18.
-- Ben Grabham Report
Day 6 of the world's biggest off-road race saw the Dakar Rally's most demanding stage yet, and the best result yet from Aussie hero Ben Grabham.
The HSE Motorex KTM Desert Racing Team rider finished 12th in the stage, hoisting himself up another four positions to 22nd overall.
Chilean KTM rider Francisco Lopez won the stage from Ruben Faria and Cyril Despres, with Frenchman Oliver Pain maintaining his lead in the Dakar for a third consecutive day.
The 141 remaining motorcycle competitors faced the starter at 2am this morning, for a 280-kilometre Liaison (transport) section to the start of the day's massive 454-kilometre Special Stage.
The first Chilean stage threw everything but the kitchen sink at competitors, from sand dunes, to rocks and fesh-fesh, finishing up with a 100-kilometre climb to an altitude of 3000 metres.
Grabham took it all in his stride; "a good day today. I felt comfortable and pushed a bit harder while still looking after the bike and myself. There was a faster section with some dunes and I passed a few guys while building confidence with the bike and navigation each day.
“I’m looking forward to the longer, harder stages coming up and the marathon stage tomorrow."
Tomorrow it only gets tougher; the ascent of the Andes Cordillera continues early in the morning, with a liaison stage taking competitors to a record altitude of 4975 metres, atop Argentina’s highest mountain pass.
For that Special Stage the altimeter will fluctuate between 3400 and 3900 metres, with speeds rarely dropping below 100kph.
With competitors still yet to eclipse the halfway point of the famous rally, a mountain of physical, mental and mechanical challenges still remains ahead.
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