The past two days have been disastrous for KTM in the Paris-Dakar-Cairo Rally. Yesterday saw Austrian Heinz Kinigadner dropping out of the race when he crashed and was injured while trying to make up time. Today, erstwhile leader Juan Roma dropped out when his bike ground to a halt with a blown engine. Roma's was the last factory KTM in the race, and four BMWs now occupy the top four spots on the leaderboard.
Two of those Beemers are being ridden by American Jimmy Lewis and Spaniard Oscar Gallardo, the duo who tied for the win in today's stage. That performance and Roma's presumed demise (he could conceivably re-enter the rally tomorrow) moved Gallardo to second and Lewis to third in the overall standings. The new overall leader is Frenchman Richard Sainct, last year's Dakar winner. Gallardo is 44 minutes back, while Lewis is just over an hour behind.
In the automobile class, motorcycle ace Stephane Peterhansel sits in second overall, and he thinks he could have been higher if he had capitalized on his Mega's dexterity in the technical early stages.
"That is where we needed to make the difference," said Peterhansel. "Now the going isn't suited to us. There is a bit of navigation, but it is still too fast."
1. Lewis/Gallardo (tie)