Local hero Chilean Chaleco Lopez won today’s stage of the Dakar, and in doing so equals Joan Barreda in the number of stage victories. Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves was the best of the Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain crossing the La Serena finish-line in third, just five seconds behind second place Despres who looks set to win his fifth Dakar tomorrow. The result takes Goncalves up into 10th overall place.
Joan Barreda similarly put in a fine performance, setting off from third position. The rider took command of the main group, dominating the entire stage in first place as well as doing an excellent error-free navigation job for the whole 250 miles (400 kms) of the special. He marked up the fifth best time in today’s section against the clock.
Fish crossed the finish-line in 17th place. Alessandro Botturi had a second really unlucky day. Yesterday, a penalty and navigation errors caused him to lose an hour and half; today it was a technical problem and he was unable to finish the stage.
Tomorrow sees the final stretch for all the participants with a 391-mile (626-km) stage that runs from La Serena to Santiago, including a special test of 215 miles (346 km).
Paulo Goncalves: “Today was a great race for me. I wanted to really push it more today, as I really wanted a win in this Dakar, but towards the end it started getting really dangerous and there were rocks everywhere, so I decided to take it easier. I’m happy with the way the team and I have worked. Now there’s just the final stage to go, and I hope to keep my 10th overall place or maybe even improve on it.”
Joan Barreda: “I had a ball navigating today. I was out there on my own practically the whole way once I got past Faria and Verhoeven a few kilometers into the race. I’m really happy.”
Alessandro Botturi: “Two days to forget about. 130 km into the special test the motor packed up on me. I was really disappointed because it’s really important to make it to the end in a race like this one, even if it wouldn’t make a difference in the overall standings. Still, I’ve made a big step forward compared to last year’s edition, and I have been up there battling amongst the leaders. We’ll have to see what happens next year.”
Results of 13th stage:
1. Lopez (Cile, KTM)
2. Despres (F, KTM) 5’25”
3. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 5’29”
4. Pedrero (ESP, KTM) 7’42”
5. Joan Barreda (ESP, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 8’24”
17. Fish (AUS, Husqvarna Rallye Team By Speedbrain) 20’
Overall standings after 13th stage:
1. Despres (FRA, KTM)
2. Lopez (Cile, KTM) 8’15”
3. Faria (P, KTM) 14’41”
4. Jakes (Slo,KTM) 24’45”
10. Paulo Goncalves (PRT, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 1h29’46”
17. Joan Barreda (ESP, Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain) 3h08’32”