Meoni Wins Dakar Stage

Paul Carruthers | January 4, 2004

KTM’s Fabrizio Meoni took a dominant victory in today’s Dakar Rally stage while one of his main rivals Richard Sainct dropped some five minutes behind after crashing his KTM.

Meoni, riding the twin-cylinder KTM 950, used the open desert to his advantage and the two-time Dakar Rally Champion was unstoppable. He finshed the stage 43 seconds in front of South African Alfie Cox, also KTM mounted.

The stage win moves Meoni back into contention in the overall standings and he is just seconds behind new overall leader Esteve Isidre Pujol, who was third today. Cyril Despres is third overall, three seconds behind Meoni after finishing 12th in today’s stage. Cox is now fourth overall, 32 seconds behind Pujol.

Teh biggest loser today was three-time Dakar Champion Sainct. According to reports from the race, Sainct crashed early in today’s 46.5-mile stage in Northern Morocco and lost over five minutes.

Frenchman David Fretigne, the leader coming into today’s stage, wasn’t able to stick with the KTMs on his two-wheel drive Yamaha WR450 and he ended up 39th position – almost 10 minutes behind Meoni.

It was a good day today for the Americans with Larry Roeseler leading his Red Bull KTM teammates with a 10th place finish that moved him to 11th overall. Scot Harden finished 15th today and sits 21st overall with Paul Krause ending up 22nd today to move to 29th 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.