The following release is from the Gauloises KTM team...
In the bikes, as expected, overall victory went to Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) (second on the special) who finally finished a more than comfortable 58’43 ahead of Carlo De Gavardo. Despres’ team mate Andy Grider (Gauloises KTM) completed the podium at 1.14’47, “an extremely impressive performance from the American rookie. His friend and compatriot Chris Blais (Gauloises KTM) was 4th (at 1.23’48).
Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) 2nd (at 00’50) 1st overall
“I took two days to really get into the race and after that I found my Dakar rhythm. Ride up front, open the piste, it is what I have to do to maintain my level in relation to my main rivals, who I am looking forward to seeing again on the Rallye Maroc in a months time. Any victory is good - though here I had maybe too easy a time of it. That said, I got great satisfaction from helping my two new American team mates who both made staggering progress.”
Andy Grider (Gauloises KTM) 3rd (at 5’36) 3rd overall (at 1.14’23)
“I’m very happy to be here at the finish on the podium for my first ever rally-raid. None of it however would have been possible without the help of my team and Cyril (Despres) and Carlo (De Gavardo). They helped me to prepare the road book and gave invaluable advice on navigation and setting up the bike. If it wasn’t for them I am certain I wouldn’t have even made it to the last stage. I have learned a lot but still have a lot to learn before I can even dream of winning one of these things.”
Chris Blais (Gauloises KTM) 4th (at 11’49) 4th overall (at 1.23’48)
“My head is still hurting but I am really happy to be at the finish. A little bit disappointed not to be on the podium because of my crash, but relieved that it wasn’t worse. Like Andy I learned a lot here, “ the most important thing I learned was to expect the unexpected. I will stay in Europe now and do some testing and hopefully be back on another rally-raid soon.”