After a difficult sixth day yesterday, Yamaha riders Olivier Pain and Frans Verhoeven were back running with the front pack in today’s stage, Calama to Salta. Today’s action too place above 3,300 metres, adding extra physical challenge for the already exhausted riders. Yamaha Racing France rider Pain managed to bring it home in third place, just over a minute from the front rider, the result keeps him at the top of the overall standings with a lead of just over six seconds.
Dutch Yamaha Netherlands Verhoeven Team rider Verhoeven made another step forward towards his performance of the opening stages of the rally, completing day seven in fourth place, just a few seconds behind Pain in the stage times. The result moves him another three places up the overall standings to 18th, now 50 minutes from the front.
Team Casteu Yamaha Racing France rider David Casteu was back inside the top ten today, wrapping up the stage in eighth position, three minutes from the front to hold onto his third position in the standings. The riders now have one more day of action tomorrow before a hard-earned rest day on Sunday.
A seventh day of quad action saw Yamaha Racing Argentina rider Marcos Patronelli again denied the top spot, the Argentinian missing out on stage victory by just 30 seconds. Patronelli still retains the overall lead by nearly an hour and 15 minutes.
Today’s Dakar was marked by the tragic loss of young French rider Thomas Bourgin who was fatally injured in a road collision whilst travelling between special stages.
“It’s sure that with Cyril Despres’s problems that gives me a significant gap for the lead, and that’s a good thing for me,” said Olivier Pain. “That’s just part of racing, but I’m not forgetting that it could happen to me too, so I’m not getting cocky about it, especially since Cyril has the capacity to claw back the time he’s lost. So, I’m not getting ahead of myself, I’m just going to carry on like this without taking risks and enjoying myself. Today I just concentrated on my own race. With the injection system, I knew our bike wouldn’t suffer too much from the altitude, so it’s all been fine. I’m still in the lead, so overall it’s been a good day.”
“I attacked flat out from the start today, because the Yamaha, thanks to the adjustable injection system, doesn’t suffer power loss at high altitudes,” commented Frans Verhoeven. “I soon caught up with Esquerre and Despres who let me past without any problems, which was very fair-play, what with all the dust and wind. After that, I carried on attacking and riding fist up to the finish.”
”It was a very quick and short stage, one where we could go flat out because the tracks were good,” said Marcos Patronelli. “After 120 km, about half way through, the tracks were narrower and rockier, so it was a bit more difficult. It’s a major step forwards, because we’ll soon have the marathon stage out of the way.”
2013 Dakar Rally Stage 7 Results:
Calama – Salta total distance 806km – 418 km liason, 218 km special, 167km liason
1. Kurt Caselli, USA (KTM) 1:51:31
2. Chaleco Lopez, CHL (KTM) 1:52:54
3. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 1:52:54
4. Frans Verhoeven, NLD (Yamaha) 1:53:01
5. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 1:54:01
6. Joan Pedrero, ESP (KTM) 1:54:13
7. Jakub Przygonski, POL (KTM) 1:54:22
8. David Casteu, FRA (Yamaha) 1:54:43
9. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) 1:55:37
10. Alessandro Botturi, ITA (Husq) 1:56:10
14. Michael Metge, FRA (Yamaha) 1:57:32
2013 Dakar Rally Overall Standings after Stage 7
1. Oliver Pain (Yamaha) 17:28:17
2. Chaleco Lopez (KTM) 17:34:23
3. David Casteu (Yamaha) 17:34:54
4. Ruben Faria (KTM) 17:37:59
5. Cyril Despres (KTM) 17:42:24
6. Jakub Przygonski (KTM) 17:49:00
7. Stefan Svitko (KTM) 17:53:08
8. Kurt Caselli (KTM) 17:56:03
9. Alessandro Botturi (Husq) 17:58:35
10. Israel Esquerre (Honda) 17:58:52
18. Frans Verhoeven (Yamaha) 18:18:22
24. Michael Metge (Yamaha) 18:58:57