KTM Dakar 2014 – Riaan van Niekerk likely to end in the Top 15 at the Dakar Rally
Stage 12 - El Salvador to La Serena Thursday 16th January
It was a trouble-free day for Broadlink KTM’s Riaan van Niekerk yesterday. Besides making the finish with some badly dented rims, tell tale signs of a rough stage, it was flat out for the most part. Riaan finished 13th on the stage just 23 minutes and 29 seconds off stage winner KTM Red Bull Factory rider Marc Coma.
Marc now holds a comfortable 52 minute 36 second lead over Honda’s Juan Barreda. Jordi Viladoms put in a great effort with a 4th on the stage.
- Friday 17th January: El Salvador to La Serena
- Special stage: 350 km Liaison section: 349 km
It was a safe day for Broadlink KTM’s Riaan van Niekerk as he rode to protect his 12th overall position. “My goal was to pay particular attention to the navigation, I didn’t want to get lost, I made one small mistake, it wasn’t critical and I’m quiet happy with the way my day panned out”. Riaan was laying third in the beginning of the stage and then took some time to navigate properly through the dunes around Copiapo, he finished 11th on the stage and is still 12th overall.
KTM Red Bull Factory’s Marc Coma has controlled the race perfectly, it was Juan Barreda’s unlucky day crashing into a ditch and severely damaging his Honda, he limped out of the stage in 68th position losing 2 hours and 29 minutes on Marc dropping him down to 7th in the overall standings.
Cyril Despres won the stage by 2 minutes 17 seconds from Marc Coma, whilst Olivier Pain took third. Barreda’s crash moved Jordi Viladoms into second overall, the KTM Factory team now have to focus on the last stage tomorrow into Valparaiso. There is still lot’s to risk and “it’s not over till it’s over!”
- Saturday 18th January: La Serena to Valparaiso
- Liaison section: 122 km Special stage: 157 km Liaison section: 256 km
Before admiring the hillsides brought to life by the houses in Valparaiso, competitors will have to climb the hills planted with cacti during the rally’s last special stage. The pride and joy of crossing the finish line is drawing closer, but the statistics show that every year some or other competitor comes unstuck on the last stage so vigilance and prudence is required, to make the first evening podium in the history of the Dakar in Valparaiso.