Cyril Despres won the stage and now leads the general standings.

The competitors commenced a series of five stages on the high plains of the Bolivian Andes, the world’s second highest plateau after Tibet. Swift acclimatisation is necessary with specials contested at 3,500 and 4,000 metres. At this altitude, the competitors are not used to encountering dunes, but that was indeed the challenge faced by the riders and drivers today. In addition, the end of the stage included tricky navigation, after no less than 400 km of the special!

Cyril Despres had a dream of a day, picking up his first stage victory behind the wheel of a car and climbing to the top of the general standings. The Frenchman took advantage of the problems encountered by his team-mates Stéphane Peterhansel, Sébastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz, with the Spaniard in danger of exiting the rally.

Cyril Despres: “It’s pretty amazing to win a stage after only three Dakars. It was not expected some years ago”.

Dakar Press Release