After today’s 12th stage only two days remain for the Dakar Rally 2013 main categories winners – Cars and Bikes – to be unveiled.
In today’s Bike stage, Dakar’s overall leader Cyril Despres (just 14th) lost almost 8 minutes to runner-up, Portuguese Rúben Faria, that is now only 5:39 minutes behind. Faria (KTM) was 2nd today just 1:38 minutes behind stage winner Dutchman Verhoeven (Yahama) that kept his 8th place overall.
Chilean Francisco Lopez (Chaveco) is 3rd overall 13:40 minutes behind Despres and still has a chance to win the Dakar.
The last two stages promise to be thrilling in bikes and we bet in Rúben Faria to be the first Portuguese to win the Dakar (either on bikes or cars). We also believe Despres will be 2nd and Chaveco 3rd.
In cars – apart from any major problems that may occur during the last two stages – Stéphane Peterhansel has the race pretty much in his pocket. Peterhansel was just 4th today, 6:03 minutes behind the winner his Mini’s teammate Nani Roma (Spain). Roma is now 3rd overall at the cost of another teammate (Novitsky), 1:31:06 hours from Peterhansel. Roma was 2nd in the 2012 edition and is a former Dakar bike winner (2004).
Peterhansel has a 50:21 minutes advantage over Giniel De Villiers (Toyota) that was 3rd in today’s stage but recovering just 1:3 minutes to Peterhansel. If Peterhansel wins as expected this will be his 11th Dakar Victory: 6 in bikes and 5 in cars. A record that will be very hard to be broken by anyone!
North-American Robby Gordon (Hummer) was 2nd today but will hardly finish inside Top-10 since he is almost 2 hours apart from P10.
Portuguese Dakar veteran – Carlos Sousa – Driving for the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall was 7th today and is 6th overall. His hopes for a Top-5 are slim since he is slightly more that 1/2 hour behind P5. Nonetheless it will be a great performance with a brand new car that still needs further developments. Note that his Chinese teammate (Zhou) is almost 5 hours apart from Sousa.