Red Bull KTM’s Kurt Caselli looked to be on the verge of his third stage win of this year’s Dakar Rally when he came to a screeching halt at the 396 km mark of today’s 13th stage, the Californian apparently suffering some sort of engine problem.
Caselli’s woes in what will be an unlucky stage 13 for the Dakar rookie allowed Francisco Lopez to ride to victory, the Chilean rider using the stage victory to vault himself into second place in the overall standings. And the rally is far from over as Lopez now trails overall leader Cyril Despres by eight minutes and 15 seconds.
Despres finished second in today’s stage, but he lost almost five and a half minutes to Lopez in the run from Copiapo to La Serena – a stage that consisted of 273 miles of specials. The stage win was the fourth of this year’s Dakar for Lopez.
Husqvarna Rally Team by Speedbrain’s Paulo Goncalves ended up third in today’s stage, some five and a half minutes behind Lopez and just four seconds behind Despres. AMV Red Bull KTM’s Juan Pedrero ended up fourth today with Husky’s Joan Barreda.
Despres’ teammate Ruben Faria ended up 12th today, a result that dropped him from second to third in the overall standings. He’s now over 14 minutes behind the overall leader.
Honda’s Johnny Campbell finished 32nd in today’s stage, the Californian riding with broken ribs. Caselli has yet to finish today’s stage.
Another having a mechanical problem today was Sherco’s Alain Duclos, the man who finished fourth in yesterday’s stage. The Frenchman was stopped at the 341km mark with mechanical problems with his Sherco 450 SR.