Sherco’s David Casteu won today’s stage of the Dakar Rally, a 425-mile stage in South America that included a 155-mile special test, the Frenchman edging out KTM’s two-time race champion Cyril Despres with pre-race favorite Marc Coma third on another KTM.
Casteu beat Despres by three seconds with Coma ending up some 12 seconds behind the race winner.
“This morning, my mechanic said, ‘We haven’t done all this for nothing, so if you want to make an impact, go on. For the bike, we’ll see afterwards’. So, I attacked, attacked and attacked! I had a great time,” said Casteu in a release. “Throughout the special stage, I kept concentrating on my steering, because riding is different on a 450cc – you have to be quick everywhere because it hasn’t got as much boost. There were some nice long straight parts. I was riding at 150 kmph, but the bike held stable and is coping well. I hardly used any petrol. In fact, I had three times too much.”
KTM’s Jordi Viladoms, Aprilia-mounted Francisco Lopez and Yamaha’s David Fretigne rounded out the top six today. American Jonah Street is 14th after today’s stage – 5 minutes and 44 seconds behind.