The American, who also won Stage Seven and has earned himself the nickname of Special K’ took advantage of the Baja-like terrain on Wednesday to attack on his KTM 450 Rally bike after rain in the area had firmed up some of the loose sand. Classified at He is now working on getting back into the top 20 after picking up more than three hours of penalties for missing checkpoints and waypoints in Stage Eight.
Despres, who is going for his fifth Dakar title had a good day in a stage that was both technical and physically challenging to finish in third, six minutes 24 behind Caselli. He now has a 13 minutes 16 seconds lead in the overall standings from Faria, his support rider or water carrier’. Factory teammateJoan Pedrero was fourth in Wednesday and is sixth overall while KTM rider Chaleco Lopez was fifth in the stage and stays at third overall.
It was an unlucky day however for South African Darryl Curtis of the KTM Factory B Team who crashed with about 70 km of the timed special to go. He managed to finish the stage but had pain in his shoulder and back and was receiving medical treatment at the Bivouac, Team Manager Alex Doringer reported. All other six riders in the main factory team and the B team are in good shape.
KTM riders currently occupy the first four places in the overall standings but there are many potential traps ahead as the Dakar caravan back towards Chile and the on its way to Santiago and the finish line . By the time they reach the Chilean capital riders would have competed more than 8000 km since the start of the race in Lima on January 5, 2013. In past days they have been battling with extreme heat, which adds another layer of difficulty to the challenge.