Yamaha’s Cyril Despres won the final stage of the 2014 Dakar Rally, leading the motorcycle portion of the rally into Valparaiso after 13 stages of the rally for his third stage win. But while Despres won today’s war, the 13-stage battle went to Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma, the Spaniard cruising to 18th today but that’s all he needed to wrap up his fourth Dakar victory.
Despres beat Honda’s Joan Barreda by two minutes and 30 seconds today, but it wasn’t enough to earn the defending Dakar champion a spot on the podium. But it was oh so close, the Frenchman coming up just 35 seconds short of finishing third overall as he lost the spot to his Yamaha teammate Olivier Pain. Still, considering Despres was penalized an hour during the rally, his effort in the final stages was one to remember.
With Coma taking the overall win by an hour and 52 minutes over his teammate Jordi Viladoms, Pain ended up third – two hours and three seconds behind. Despres was two hours and 38 seconds behind. Pain ended up third in today’s stage, three minutes and 10 seconds behind his teammate.
Fourth place overall went to Honda’s Helder Rodrigues, a tick over two hours and 11 minutes off the pace.
Barreda, who either led or was second until running into problems yesterday, ended the rally a disappointed seventh when it looked earlier in the week that he had a lock on second place. But that’s Dakar. To finish first, you must first finish.
Coma, who missed last year’s race after injuring his left shoulder in a crash in the Morocco Rally, had a near perfect Dakar. He was second after the first stage, fifth after stage two, third after the third stage, second after four stages and he took a lead he would never relinquish in the fifth of 13 stages. Impressive stuff en route to his fourth Dakar victory and his first since 2011.