The 11th special of the Personal Argentina-Chile Dakar 2011, 370 km long and divided into two parts, smiled on Cyril Despres. The Frenchman’s objective was to regain ground on the bike category leader Marc Coma. With 2’12 lost by the Catalan to the Frenchman, in the end, the day could have been worse for Coma. Despres will have to settle for a 3rd special stage triumph this year. Coma’s lead in the general standings now stands at 15’59. – DAKAR 2011 News via Dakar.com
370 kilometres was the distance of the timed section on offer to Cyril Despres to try and buck the trend after his severe setback the day before. It seemed to be a delicate assignment for the title holder, with him being 18’10″ behind Marc Coma in the general standings. Setting off in the position of pursuer, 2 minutes after his rival, the Frenchman logically gained ground during the first part of the special, totalling 1’31 after 224 km, a good score, but not sufficient to worry the Catalan. Far from the battle for the title, “Chaleco” Lopez took advantage of his fourth-placed starting position to follow the tracks of the two leading bikers and concentrate on riding his race. The Chilean put in the best time on arrival at the neutralised zone, with a good lead of 1’29 over Despres.The second part of the special was the same as the first but for one detail. Despres set off 29″ behind Coma this time, before gradually catching up with him and overtaking him thirty kilometres from the finish. Behind him, however, “Chaleco” Lopez suffered a moment’s absence, misreading a note in his road-book. This navigation error cost him victory. As a result, Despres triumphed, taking his third stage victory since the start of the rally and the 26th in his career on the Dakar. The KTM rider is now one behind Jordi Arcarons and 6 behind the record holder in the bike category, Stephane Peterhansel.The Frenchman regained 2’12 on the Spaniard, though this was not a big blow for Coma, who rode a controlled race and stuck to the tail of Despres once he was overtaken. He conserves a significant advantage of 15’59 over his best enemy. “Chaleco” Lopez remains on the third step of the virtual podium, but more than 49 minutes behind the leader, and even gained time on the day’s fourth-placed rider, Helder Rodrigues.
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