Four different manufacturers made up the top four in today’s stage 12 of the Dakar Rally, a stage that featured almost 200 miles of timed special sections on the run from Fiambola to Copiapo in Northern Chile. The winning brand was Yamaha with Dutchman Frans Verhoeven riding his YZ450F to his first stage win of this year’s race and the fourth of his Dakar career.
Verhoeven topped Red Bull KTM’s Ruben Faria by one minute and 38 seconds in the stage that took the field through the Andes Mountains from east to west before heading into the Atacama desert. Third place went to Joan Barreda on the Husqvarna By Speedbrain Husky 450RR with the Sherco 450 SR of Alain Duclos finishing fourth. It was Duclos’ best finish of this year’s Dakar.
American Kurt Caselli finished 18th in today’s stage – just one day after winning stage 11, his second stage win of his Dakar debut.
Today’s stage looked like it was going to be won by Barreda with the Spanish rider seemingly set on winning his fifth stage. But the Husky rider got lost while leading at the 201 km mark, allowing first Faria and ultimately Verhoeven to take over at the front.
In the overall standings it’s still Red Bull KTM’s Cyril Despres leading the way, the Frenchman five minutes and 39 seconds ahead of his teammate Faria with Franciso “Chaleco” Lopez in third place – 13 minutes and 40 seconds behind Despres.
Caselli is 22nd overall after 12 stages of the rally.