After losing fourth gear on the penultimate stage, López, who was Despres nearest rival, incurred a 15-minute time penalty due to an engine change. That outcome pushed him back into third overall, eliminating his last hope of victory. But with his podium spot in jeopardy and his honour hurt, the Chilean gave it his all in the last, 126-kilometre special to win the day.
KTM’s Rubien Faria remained within striking distance of Lopez to ensure he claimed the runner up position in the rally with second overall.
Recording the team’s 12th podium result of the race, Husqvarna’s Joan Barreda third overall with HRC Honda’s Helder Rodrigues taking fourth and KTM’s Joan Pedrero fifth.
But as the riders rode into Santiago, the day belonged to Despres. A master strategist on the course, defending champion Cyril Despres took his first back-to-back win and his third victory in South America (2010, 2012 and 2013) to go with his two wins in Africa (2005 and 2007). This fifth triumph puts him on par with Cyril Neveu in the race's win-list.
Commenting on his fifth Dakar Rally win, Despres told…
“For me this victory is special in a number of ways. Firstly because it has been a while since anybody has managed to win two consecutively. If my memory serves me correctly I think Richard Sainct was the last rider to do it.
“My team mate Ruben taking the second place also makes me very happy. This is the fourth year he has been alongside me and in that time he has really matured as a competitor."
Adding to the occasion, his teammate Faria and Lopez, Ivan Jakes and Pedrero ensured KTM finished as the best manufacture with 1-2-3-4-5 results.
Delivering a great performance Slovakian Ivan Jake finished fourth, 24 minutes behind but more than 20 minutes ahead of fifth-placed Pedrero.
Results – Stage 14
1. Chaleco Lopez (KTM); Rubien Faria (KTM); 3. Joan Barreda (Husqvarna) 4. Helder Rodrigues (Honda) 5. Joan Pedrero…
1. Cyril Despres (KTM) 43:24:22; 2. Rubien Faria (KTM) 43:35:05; 3. Chaleco Lopez (KTM) 43:43:10; 4. Ivan Jakes (KTM) 43:48:16; 5. Joan Pedrero (KTM); 6. Olive Pain (Yamaha) 44:30:52; 7. Helder Rodrigues (Honda) 44:35:44; 8. Javier Pizzolito (Honda) 44:50:29; 9. Frans Verhoeven (Yamaha) 44:50:57; 10. Paulo Goncalver (Husqvarna) 44:52:42… 25. Stan Watt (KTM) 48:47:31; 26. Tim Forman (KTM) 48:48:12; 46. Lyndon Poskitt (KTM) 52:26:57; 83. Craig Bounds (KTM) 59:12:39;