Gauloises KTM’s Cyril Despres maintained his lead in the Dakar Rally, the Frenchman finishing fifth in today’s stage but still holding down a 36-minute lead over his teammate David Casteu.
Today’s stage was won by Jean De Azevedo, the Brazilian winning his first stage of the rally after battling with mechanical woes throughout this year’s event.
Despres didn’t take any chances today after seeing what happened to Marc Coma yesterday. Despres rode most of the stage with Red Bull KTM’s Chris Blais, finishing just over seven minutes behind De Azevedo.
In winning the second stage of his Dakar career, De Azevedo topped Poland’s Jacek Czachor by two minutes with Latvian Janis Vinters finishing third.
The scare of the day went to Casteu, the Frenchman struggling with a fuel-injection problem, but being able to get it fixed when the special stage was delayed by 30 minutes because of heavy traffic on the road. Casteu finished sixth but still maintains a solid hold on second place in the overall standings over Blais, who finished fourth in today’s stage.
Blais is 53 minutes behind Casteu with only tomorrow’s stage left to run.