Husqvarna By Speedbrain's Joan Barreda and Red Bull KTM's Cyril Despres had a back-and-forth battle in today's 10th stage of the Dakar Rally with the win eventually going to Barreda by a minute and 15 seconds. But there's no doubt that the big winner was Despres, the defending race champion now in complete control of the race as he tries to win his fifth Dakar Rally.
Despres took over at the top of the overall standings with his ride today, the Frenchman leading his teammate Ruban Faria in the race by one minute and 37 seconds with Faria in position to aid his teammate for the duration.
Third place overall is held by another KTM - this one ridden by Chilean Francisco Lopez on the Tamarugal Racing team. Lopez, who has won three stages of this year's rally, is 13 minutes and 41 seconds behind Despres.
Today's stage win for Barreda was his fourth in this year's Dakar, the Spanish rider moving up to 18th in the overall standings with his effort. When he doesn't have troubles, Barreda has proven to be the fastest man in the rally. But he's finished 10th, 44th, 144th, 29th, 20th and second in the six stages he hasn't won. Despres, on the other hand, has only one stage victory to his credit - but he's been fifth, 12th, third, 14th, fifth, third, 32nd, 58th and second in the other stages.
American Kurt Caselli ride his Red Bull KTM to fifth in today's stage. The Californian is now 20th overall after 10 stages.
Honda's Johnny Campbell continues his surge, the veteran off-road racer finishing 21st in today's stage. He's 22nd overall after 10 stages.