“Picking up seconds in the general standings is not the most important thing. What matters is making statements, making a difference, gaining in confidence and letting the racing do the talking. As a result, the general standings reflect that on paper in the evening.” – Cyril Despres

It was a good day for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team on the road to La Rioja, Argentina.  Although Joan Barreda Bort of Spain won the stage, France’s Cyril Depres used his second place finish in order to seize the overall lead from Portugal’s Ruben FariaFrancisco ‘Chaleco’ López makes Chile proud in overall third place but will need to haul tail in the next stage to maintain or improve his position.  US rider Kurt Caselli who is competing in his very first Dakar Rally finished the stage in fifth place.  His performance has been admirable thus far including a seventh stage win.  He entered the competition on short notice to replace KTM’s multiple-Dakar champion, Marc Coma.  The Spaniard was injured during the Rally of Morocco.  Although Caselli’s currently thirty-sixth overall, this plucky American will definitely be one to watch in the future.

KAMAZ Master Team won the stage as Andrey Karginov piloted to victory.  His team mate Eduard Nikolaev extended his overall lead but the Czech Team Tatra’s Martin Kolomy holds fast in second place.  Kolomy has his work cut out for him because Mardeev and Karginov are hot on his trail to secure a KAMAZ lockout for Russia.  Despite all that contention, don’t count out Gerard De Rooy yet because he’s still a threat in fifth place.  Argentina’s Orlando Terranova made history with his very first stage win.  In the overall standings, Stéphane Peterhansel seems poised to take the rally for France and the Monster X-Raid team.  Giniel De Villiers’ consistent performance has taken him back into second place.  However, it would take a either a miracle or catastrophe for the South African to repeat his 2009 Dakar Rally win.  With four stages left, it could still be anybody’s game.

Keep in the know online at Red Bull’s Dakar 2013 web page or www.Dakar.com.  Instant updates can be on your iPhone via the official Dakar Rally 2013 app and US fans can see highlights on The Dakar Rally every morning at 2:00 am (EST) on the NBC Sports Network.  Yahoo Sports has continuously updated stage and overall results.  On top of all that, you can get official updates and exclusive content from your usual social media suspects: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Tell us, who are you rooting for to win the mother of all rally-raid events?