Dakar, Day Nine: Casteau drops out, Despres in front

KTM's 450 Rally is the bike to beat at Dakar again this year, holding down seven of the top 10 slots.

Cyril Despres managed to regain his lead in the 2012 Dakar rally yesterday, while engine trouble meant the end of David Casteau’s efforts.

Despres fell behind defending champion Marc Coma during Stage Eight, after getting his KTM 450 Rally stuck in a mud pit that wasn’t on the map. Race officials gave him some credit for time lost, though, and Despres was back on top by the end of Day Nine, finishing 3:54 ahead of Coma.

Both riders changed their engines yesterday, so expect them to race hard today as they battle each other for their fourth Dakar victory. Day 10 sees them racing 431 miles along the Pacific coast, with a timed 234-mile section.

Frenchman David Casteau, who’s been in and out of the overall top five for the length of the rally, suffered an engine failure yesterday on his Yamaha.

That meant some shuffling in the ranks of the top five;  KTM riders Jordi Viladoms and Gerard Farres Guell slid into fourth and fifth slots, respectively, leaving Yamaha’s third-place Helder Rodrigues as the only non-KTM rider in the top five right now. Husqvarna’s seventh-place Paulo Goncalves and Yamaha’s 10th-place Olivier Pain are the only other riders in the top 10 who aren’t aboard KTMs.

Here are the new top five standings. Check out the Day Nine highlight video below.

1. Cyril Despres (KTM)
2. Marc Coma (KTM)
3. Hélder Rodrigues (Yamaha)
4. Jordi Viladoms (KTM)
5. Gerard Farres Guell (KTM)

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