The Dakar Rally crossed borders once again, as the race traversed the Andes from Argentina into Chile.  With only two stages left, the competition is heating up in all sorts of ways.  The overall Bike, Car and Truck leaders remained the same as before.  However, the rest of the field is making every effort to win at least one stage before the finale in Santiago on Saturday January 19, 2013.  They’re also looking for any chink in the leaders’ armor for a chance to snap up those golden top spots.  France’s Stéphane Peterhansel has a comfortable overall lead in the Cars category for the Monster Energy X-Raid Team.  There was a small panic when his Mini All4 got stuck on a sand dune but disaster was averted and his advantage remained intact.  He knows what it’s like to have victory snatched away on the very last day and won’t take anything for granted.  His Spanish team mate, Joan ‘Nani’ Roma won the stage but Speed Energy Racing’s Robby Gordon of the USA and Red Bull’s Giniel De Villiers from South Africa were hot on his trail.  With only about four minutes separating them, Roma had his work cut out for him…and still does.

Russia’s KAMAZ Master Team occupies the top three overall Truck positions with Eduard Nikolaev first, then followed by Ayrat Mardeev and Andrey Karginov.  The latter two engaged in a battle of behemoths in Copiapó’s sandy wasteland.  Ultimately, Karginov won the stage with Mardeev only a couple of minutes behind him.  This left their overall positions unchanged.  However Gerard De Rooy took third in the stage and is an ever constant threat towards KAMAZ’s domination.  One bad day brought his stellar performance to an abrupt end and he’s patiently waiting for them to have their turn.  The Dutchman is determined to take home a second Dakar championship and continue the legacy of his father, Dakar legend Jan De Rooy.

Yet another Dutchman, Bike rider Frans Verhoeven achieved his first stage win for the event; but it wasn’t easy as Portugal’s Ruben Faria was only 1’35” behind him.  Spain’s Joan Barreda Bort valiantly finished in third, despite a shoulder injury that almost took him out of the competition altogether.  At this time, Red Bull sponsored Cyril Despres from France may well be on his way to a fifth Dakar championship.  However, he made time for sportsmanship and worked in tandem with his fellow KTM team mate, Ruben Faria to stave off an onslaught from the Chilean juggernaut Francisco ‘Chaleco’ López who finished the stage in seventh position.  With such little time left, helping his team mate to do well didn’t diminish Despres’ lead, but made sure that a respected colleague has a better chance to share in the glory of a podium finish.

“It was also important for me today to try and help Ruben. He’s been helping me for the Dakar 2010, 2011, 2012 and also 2013, so today I decided to help him to try and stay in second place overall. I think he did well and I’m happy for us.” – Cyril Despres

 If you want to catch up on the action, go to or Red Bull’s Dakar 2013 web page.  The official Dakar Rally 2013 apps for iPhone and Android models are excellent.  If you’re in the US (and have insomnia) highlights air every morning on The Dakar Rally at 2:00 am (EST) on the NBC Sports Network.  Yahoo Sports has up-to-date stage and overall results.  However, if you’re used to getting your news from social media, then you can follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram.

Tell us, My Life at Speeders, have you enjoyed the race so far?