Fretigne Still Leads Dakar

Paul Carruthers | January 3, 2004

They hit the beach today in the Dakar Rally and the man who mastered the sand the best was Frenchman David Fretigne, the Yamaha rider winning his second straight stage on the two-wheel drive WR450F.

Fretigne won yesterday’s stage in the mud, but today the three-time World Enduro Champion showed that the bike is capable of winning on the sand as well. Though clearly inferior to the KTMs in terms of top-speed, the Yamaha is light and reports from the Dakar say that it has gained more almost 20 percent more traction from its hydraulic two-wheel drive system and that proved worthy in today’s sand.

Fretigne’s overall lead is now 16 seconds over KTM’s Cyril Despres, the Frenchman finishing second in today’s stage a second behind the Yamaha man. Giovanni Sala was third on another KTM and is now over a minute down in the overall standings.

Red Bull KTM’s Larry Roeseler finished 10th in today’s stage and sits 18th overall. His teammates Scot Harden and Paul Krause ended the day 46th and 54th, respectively, and are ranked 34th and 42nd overall.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.