Skip to main content

Despres wins sixth Dakar motorcycle stage

  • Story Highlights
  • Frenchman Cyril Despres has won the motorcycle stage six of the Dakar Rally
  • Spaniard Marc Coma finishes second to extend overall motorcycle advantage
  • Nasser Al Attiyah consolidates his lead in the car section but faces a penalty
  • Next Article in World Sport »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

(CNN) -- Defending champion Cyril Despres has won the motorcycle stage six of the Dakar Rally, with Spain's Marc Coma extending his overall advantage.

Frenchman Despres, who also won the event in 2005, finished the shortened 178km stage between San Rafael and Mendoza over two minutes ahead of Coma with another Spaniard, Jordi Viladoms, five minutes and 15 seconds back in third place.

In the overall standings, Coma leads American Jonah Street, who gave up more than 10 minutes to Despres, by over 40 minutes with France's David Fretigne in third place.

The stage was shortened from 394km to 178km after just 230 of the 410 vehicles involved made the connection after the punishing fifth stage on Wednesday witnessed the withdrawal of more than 30 competing vehicles.

Meanwhile, the row over the death of 49-year-old Pascal Terry after the fourth stage continues to overshadow this year's race.

"Officially the result of the autopsy revealed that the French rider Terry died of pulmonary edema ... which produced cardio-respiratory failure," Julio Acosta, chief of the department of operations of the La Pampa provincial police, told the official news agency Telam earlier in the day.

"The death of the rider occurred between Monday and Tuesday morning," Acosta added. "He could have been saved, if he had been rescued in time."

Meanwhile, Nasser Al Attiyah consolidated his lead in the car section, although he faces the embarrassing prospect of being stripped of victory after he missed a control point.

The BMW driver went into the stage with a two minute, 24 second lead over South African Volkswagen driver Giniel De Villiers.

But he could be penalised two hours after recognising he skipped the mandatory time control point. If that happens, De Villiers, who finished the stage five minutes seven seconds behind the Qatari in second spot, would become the overall race leader.

Meanwhile, Luc Alphand, the 2006 winner, pulled out of the race, delivering another blow to defending champions Mitsubishi. The Frenchman gave up when co-driver Gilles Picard became ill.

Alphand, a former alpine ski champion, was lying eighth overall in the standings at the start of the day, over 40 minutes behind Al-Attiyah.

His withdrawal followed that of Mitsubishi teammate Hiroshi Masuoka, the winner in 2002 and 2003, who was forced out after the first stage when his vehicle developed engine trouble.

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print