The final stage of the 2014 Dakar Rally, Stage Thirteen was a formality for most, but proved was still another day in the office for these riders as they tackled the 157 km special. Cyril Despres was quickest across the line, but the Frenchman was caught speeding in the liaison stage, and suffered a 15 minute penalty because of it. The error tossed Despres back to fifth for the day, leaving HRC’s Joan Barreda to win his fifth stage in this year’s Dakar Rally.
Barreda would surely have been a podium finisher this year, and possible rally winner, had he not suffered a catastrophic electrical problem on Stage Twelve. Surely disappointed with his result, the Spaniard can take solice in proving the competitiveness of HRC’s Honda CRF450 Rally package.
“Today is the last day of the Dakar. For us it feels tough because I lost a lot of time with a problem after a fall at kilometer 200,” said Borreda. “But today I was back in the saddle like a pro, and I did a really good job in the special. In the end it wasn’t the result that we were working for in the Dakar. Well, now it’s time to go home and try to get to grips with what happened, how and where we went wrong and see how we can sort them out for next year.”
With a comfortable lead to his closest competitor, Marc Coma rode an conservative pace on his KTM 450 Rally to the stage’s end, and finished out his fourth career Dakar Rally win with a comfortable 1hr 52 min gap to second place rider, and teammate, Jordi Viladoms.
“Without the right people behind me it would have been impossible to win,” Coma said. “We have worked very well throughout the race and also before. Last year I went through a very difficult situation not being able to compete because of injury and I came back to win the race. I think this says a lot about the people I have around me. I am very proud of this victory. What was key to winning the Dakar was not to make any mistakes.”
Yamaha Racing’s Olivier Pain rounded out the Top 3 overall, a further eight minutes back from Viladoms, with teammate Cyril Despres finishing fourth overall, an impressive result considering the Frenchman’s troubles on Stage Four and Stage Five.
“I’m really pleased to have achieved my goal and got myself and my Yamaha on the podium,” said Pain. “After months of hard work, both with the team and the people who help me with my physical preparation it is a source of great satisfaction. To have done so ahead of the ‘King of the Desert’ (Cyril Despres) gives it even more worth.”
Top 10 from Stage 13: La Serena to Valparaiso:
2014 Dakar Rally Final Overall Results:
Source: Dakar; Photo: HRC