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Cyril Despres saw his lead at the Desafio Litoral reduced on the penultimate stage of the rally raid as Kuba Przygonski took advantage of the Frenchman’s technical problems.

With only one day of the six-stage rally in northern Argentina remaining, Cyril holds a narrow 3m44s lead over Kuba. Cyril’s advantage could have been cut even further on stage five if he hadn’t been helped out by his team-mate Taddy Blazusiak.

Cyril badly damaged one of his tyres with 40km of the timed special stage still to race. Taddy came to Cyril’s rescue when he arrived on the scene and swapped one of his good tyres with the four-time Dakar Rally champion.

Cyril was able to finish the fifth stage in fourth place after switching tyres with Taddy and maintained his overall lead in the Dakar Series rally.

“I was pretty sure I could have finished the stage on my damaged wheel but after Taddy swapped with me I was able to get on with the race. I’m grateful to him because it means that he will have to start quite far back tomorrow and that will be hard for him.”

The technical problems Cyril suffered on the stage reminded him that anything can happen at anytime in Enduro racing.

“I have a small advantage going into the last stage but in this sport you never know what is going to happen. Its never over till its over.”

It has been an eventful first taste of rally raid racing for Taddy. On the second day of the Desafio Litoral he crashed and aggravated a shoulder injury. Today the Polish biker completed the stage on an unstable tyre.

“When I saw Cyril had trouble with his tyre, it was natural that I should give him my wheel as he has a good chance to take the win. After all, that’s what team-mates are for.”

Orlen Team member Kuba Przygonski goes into tomorrow’s final stage with a chance to leapfrog Cyril and take the top prize. Kuba could have taken the lead on stage five but he experienced his own technical problems.

“It was a fast stage today but unfortunately I could not take full advantage because I encountered some problems with my gears. Normally I would have hit a top speed of 170kmph but I was unable to go above 130kmph because of my problem with the gears. Tomorrow’s stage is only 75km so it will be tough to catch Cyril but I will fight until the end.”

Results Stage Five
1. Mauricio Gomez, Argentina, Yamaha 2:38:41
2. Pablo Rodriguez, Argentina, Honda +2:52
3. Jakub Przygonski, Poland, KTM, +3:44
4. Cyril Despres, France, KTM +5:44
5. David Tieppo, Beta, +6:25
6. Javier Pizzolito, Argentina, Honda +7:08
7. Taddy Blazusiak, Poland, KTM, at +10:26
8. Laurent Lazzard, Uruguay, Yamaha, +11:39
9. Frederic Judez Rivas, Yamaha, +12:42
10. Jorge Aguilar, KTM, +12:52

Overall results after Stage Five
1. Despres, 13:16:41
2. Przygonski +3:44
3. Gomez at +1:02:24
4. Rodriguez, +1:30:50
5. Pizzolito, +1:33:47
6. Israel, +1:35:10
7. Ortiz, +3:07:51
8. Guiral, +3:11:46
9. Lazzard, +3:41:48
10. Jorge Aguilar, KTM, +4:02:37

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