The 14th and final stage of the 35th edition of the Dakar wound up today in Santiago, Chile. Frenchman Cyril Despres became the overall winner for the fifth time in a race that had been wide open right up until the end of the last special test. Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain did well once again with a third place in today’s stage, with Spaniard Joan Barreda taking the team’s tally to 12 podium places. Barreda himself has scored four stage wins.
The final standings don’t really do justice to Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain or its riders, who were punished for technical issues that had previously not occurred all season. Joan Barreda, in particular, should have finished higher after he dominated the early stages; likewise Alessandro Botturi, who until three days ago was in fifth place.
The best of the Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain on the final leader-board was Portuguese Paulo Goncalves finishing 10th overall, after a consistent ride always up amongst the leaders. Also noteworthy in their performances were the three privateers who finished the Dakar 2013 aboard Husqvarna TE449s: Portuguese Bianchi Prata, Australian Simon Pavey, and Spaniard Alex Bousquets on the TE449 RR by Speedbrain.
Joan Barreda: “I’m extremely pleased with my race, with the bike and with the team. We’ve taken a giant leap forward from last year’s race, and it shouldn’t be forgotten that this is only the second year with a completely new bike. Obviously, if I hadn’t broken the wheel at the start of the race, I’d have certainly finished on the final podium, which was always our aim.
Paulo Goncalves: “We showed that we are highly competitive and capable of competing with the best. It’s been a really positive race, in spite of the final result that definitely didn’t reflect my real performance in this Dakar. The team will go home well satisfied, as we’ve proved that both the bike and the quality of the riders are up to the job. It’s a shame for Botturi who didn’t manage to finish the race despite the fact that he gave his heart for the team and fitted in with us right from the start.”
Matt Fish: “This has been my first Dakar and I’m thrilled to have been able to finish such an amazing race. I came here to help the team and my teammates. It was a tough challenge, and I did my best. An incredible experience, especially when I had to finish the special test at night in the middle of the desert.”
Fourteenth Stage Result:
1. Lopez (Chile, KTM)
2. Faria (Sp, KTM) at 29”
3. Joan Barreda (ESP, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain ) at 37”
4. Rodrigues ( PRT, Honda ) at 53”
5. Pedrero ( Sp, KTM) at 1’25”
9. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) at 3’01”
24. Fish (AUS, Husqvarna Rallye Team By Speedbrain) at 8’10”
Final Standings Dakar 2013:
1. Despres (FRA, KTM)
2. Faria (P, KTM) at 10’43”
3. Lopez (Cile, KTM) at 18’48”
4. Jakes (Slo,KTM) at 23’54”
5. Pedrero (Spa, KTM) at 55’29”
10. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 1h28’20”
17. Joan Barreda (ESP, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 3h04”42