Originally Posted by 8340SU
With David Casteu winning the day's stage and Olivier Pain still on top of the general standings, the excellent health of the Yamaha YZF was confirmed today. However, Joan Barreda lost out big time, halted by fuel problems.
The first impressions have proved to be correct. For the last few weeks, the riders of the various versions of the Yamaha YZF have not stopped praising the progress made during the year that has passed. In the battle with KTM, Husqvarna and Honda, the blue bikes have quickly made their mark. To illustrate, Olivier Pain took control of the general standings yesterday, in front of his team-mate David Casteu. Might the two Frenchmen have taken advantage of the racing context to stage a hold-up on the race order? No way! This morning, the duo dealt with the situation with aplomb, opening the road almost right throughout a special stage that was quicker than the previous ones. The power of the Yamaha spoke volumes, to the benefit of David Casteu, who added a third stage victory on the Dakar to the ones he won in Nouakchott in 2006 and Cordoba in 2010.
Olivier Pain and David Casteu managed to hold off Cyril Despres, who could have taken advantage of his starting position to try and regain control of the rally today, but who did not achieve such a feat. What's more, the struggle for the title will probably no longer involve Joan Barreda, halted by fuel pump problems for a significant part of the day at the 98-km point. For the moment, a 100% French trio are dominating the rally, with 6 minutes separating the three riders. The match between the teams is up and running too, because behind the two Yamahas, the KTMs ridden by Despres and his water carrier Ruben Faria are awaiting an opportunity to spring an ambush, followed by the two Husqvaranas ridden by Jordi Viladoms and Alessandro Botturi, who will be taking up the baton from their unfortunate team leader, Barreda Bort.
In the quad race, Yamaha has dominated for the last several years. It was therefore natural that this machine was chosen by Marcos Patronelli, who has put in a flawless performance since the beginning of the second stage. The Argentinean, who won the rally in 2010, won a 4th consecutive special stage and opened up an even bigger gap on his rivals. Sebastian Husseini, who had managed to stay in contact until today, ground to a halt with mechanical problems and will lose several hours on Patronelli by the time he arrives in Arica. Now the closest pursuer to the race leader is Chilean Ignacio Casale, who is nevertheless 1 hour and 18 minutes behind.