Frenchman Cyril Despres, aboard his Red Bull KTM Factory Rally bike, took his second straight (and fifth overall) victory in the 2013 Dakar Rally, which wrapped up this weekend.The nearly 5,000 mile event travels through Peru and Argentina, before finishing in Chile. This year was typically grueling, as reflected in this quote from the winner:
“I went for it, with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you,” he said. “Little navigational mistakes, perhaps fewer than the others, taking care of my motorcycle and being in a good team. In the end, I’ve got a good reason to be very happy. The day when winning the Dakar becomes easy, it won’t be interesting any more. And this day is still far! It’s too long, it’s too tough, it’s too hot. It’s too cold. You’ve got to get up early in the morning. You’ve got to find your way out of the maze of dunes in Peru and Chile. You’ve got to tackle the stones and cactuses on the courses near Córdoba. It’s just too tricky for it to be easy to win. And it’s even better when you win a difficult race. I’m always focused on what I have to do. We’re up against a grueling element, the desert. Then there are the stones, the Andes… and we experience them. It’s as real as it gets.”
KTM took the first five places, as well as its twelfth consecutive overall win. On the podium with Despres was second place Ruben Faria and third place Chalaco Lopez.
Motorcycle legend Stephane Peterhansel took his fifth overall win in the car class, adding to the six wins he achieved as a motorcyclist at Dakar.
Unfortunately, the 2013 edition of the race again saw tragedy as motorcyclist Thomas Bourgin succumbed to injuries after colliding with a Chilean police car on his way to the start line for Stage 7.
For additional details and stories (they are endless), visit Red Bull’s excellent Dakar site. Red Bull has also put together a nice video summary of the race, which you can find here: Day by Day at the Dakar Rally – The final curtain