20 Jan 2013

Frenchman on verge of fifth Dakar Rally title

5:04 am on 20 January 2013

France's Cyril Despres virtually wrapped up a fifth Dakar Rally motorcycling title when he finished second on the penultimate stage to open an overall lead of over eight minutes.

The 38-year-old, the champion in 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2012, was five minutes and 25 seconds behind Chile's Francisco Lopez.

But with KTM team-mate and overnight title rival Ruben Faria slipping into third in the standings, Despres will go into the final dash into Santiago with an overall lead of more than eight minutes over Lopez.

For Honda rider Lopez, it was a fourth stage win on the 2013 race and 10th of his career.