Australian Andy Caldecott rode his KTM to the first stage win of his Dakar Rally career today in the 235-mile run between Agadir and Smara in Southern Morocco, becoming the first Australian to ever win a stage in the Dakar.
The 40-year-old Caldecott held seventh in last year’s rally, but was forced out of the race when he suffered a broken leg.
The stars have started to shine in the Dakar with Marc Coma finishing second today to take over the overall lead. The Spaniard leads Caldecott by 43 seconds in the overall standings.
Third in today’s stage went to Cyril Despres, the Frenchman also moving into third overall. Despres topped teammate Alfie Cox and Isidre Esteve. Cox is now fourth overall with Esteve fifth.
As for the American contingent, today was Chris Blais’ turn to shine, the Californian finishing the stage in eighth place, a finish that moved him all the way to eighth in the overall standings.
Blais’ Red Bull KTM team manager Scot Harden finished the day in 18th place and he sits 16th overall after five stages. Unfortunately, fast starter Kellon Walch didn’t fare well today. Walch ended up 56th in today’s stage and dropped to 46th overall.
Yamaha’s David Fretigne, the Frenchman who was leading going into today’s stage, ended up seventh after navigational problems hampered his day. Fretigne ended up following motorcycle tracks that belonged to tourists rather than those in the race. He is now seventh overall.