Despres celebrates his return to Pharaons Rally with overall victory

2009-10-11 17:34
Red Bull KTM factory rider Cyril Despres of Andorra celebrated his return to the Pharaons Rally with an overall victory on Sunday, leading in a trio of KTM riders at the conclusion of the seven stage event.

It was Cyril's first appearance at the Pharaons Rally in five years and gave the French-born rider a chance to hone his rally skills over a course that was largely challenging desert dunes.

Back in the groove
Despres started cautiously in the opening stage - in his words - to "get back into the groove" but also to secure himself a good starting position for the second day. His tactics paid off and he came home 13 minutes ahead Chilean ‘Chaleco' Lopez on day two and was then lying in second place. Stage three sent riders straight into the dunes and Cyril opened the piste and rode alone for the entire stage to capture the day's glory and the overall lead. On what he described as a "magnificent day" Despres then had an 11'10 lead going into Stage Four. After a mass start, Cyril rode most of the day and the 230 km stretch with Poland's Jakub Przygonski to win the stage and extend his lead.

Challenging dunes
Stage five tested the riders with difficult navigation and Despres finished back in seventh place after getting stuck on the crest of a dune about 60km from the end to trim back his overall lead. Cyril was back in form for stage six and crossed the line first however the stage was eventually scrapped following an accident of an assistance vehicle.

Overall victory after eventful first day
On the final day Despres emerged the overall winner ahead of Italian Luca Manca and Poland's Jakub Przygonski both onboard KTM machines but it was not all plain sailing. Cyril Despres: "I was first into refueling and must have taken on some bad petrol because 50 kilometres further on the bike's engine started to run rough. From there on I was obliged to ride at a maximum of 100 kph and keep my finger crossed all the way to the finish line.
Overall it was an excellent rally and I am delighted to add it to my tally. The route was varied, the navigation interesting and I felt great on the bike, so all in all I am very satisfied." Despres now returns to Andorra to prepare for the Morocco Rally (October 24-30)

Results Open Class
1. Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM 690
2. Luca Manca, Italy, KTM 660 Rally at 06:40
3. Jakub Przygonski, Poland, KTM 690 at 21:11

Source: KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG

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