Dakar Rally – Stage Five
Marc Coma strikes perfectly to take win stage five and take command of the Dakar Rally while those around him falter.
Marc Coma, the three times winner of the event, put distance between himself and his rivals on the day’s stage, which was partially shortened due to the extreme temperatures threatening the safety of the bikers.
It was another tough day – it was really hot out there,” explained Coma. “It’s also difficult in terms of navigation as well because of the rain last week which makes it difficult to see anything. To get to the end of the stage, I rode for 10 km lost in a riverbed. In general, it’s hard for everyone. For the race lead, you can lose lots of time at any moment. When you open the way, it’s a bit like playing Russian roulette.”
After four days of racing, a good number of the favourites on the Dakar have already suffered for various reasons or even returned home in some cases. Marc Coma, however, chose the morning of the fifth stage to burst into action and strike a major blow against all his rivals, whether named Cyril Despres, already in difficulty the day before, or Joan Barreda, who ground to a halt on the route to Tucuman.
After having overtaken “Chaleco” Lopez then Juan Pedrero, the winner of yesterday’s stage, the KTM leader re-asserted his status by putting an impressive distance between himself and his pursuers. On completion of the first part of the special stage, a 211-km long section, the comeback king, who had to miss out on the Dakar 2013 due to an injured shoulder, avoided the many traps into which fell Paulo Gonçalves – who dropped out after his bike caught fire – or Cyril Despres – overheated engine and navigation errors.
Sticking close to Coma, his teammate Jordi Viladoms finished 13 minutes behind as runner-up.
A gap was opened on Despres, who finished 45 minutes later; on Barreda and Pain, who lost out in similar proportions; and on Lopez, who trailed in more than 50 minutes after.
The situation seemed to take a turn for the worst at the start of the second section to be covered, due to a leak spotted on the petrol tank of his KTM. However, when on form, Coma enjoys luck as well as his talent. A quick-fix repair carried out with Viladoms already put a small smile back on his face before, several minutes later, the news was announced that the second section of the special stage had been cancelled, meaning the times at the end of the first section stood for the stage results.
In total, the day seems to be an excellent one for Coma, because he now only has three rivals positioned within less than an hour in the general standings, namely Joan Barreda, Lopez and Viladoms, respectively 41 minutes 10 seconds, 53 minutes 40 seconds and 59 minutes behind.
Results – Dakar Rally, Stage 5 (unofficial)
1, Marc Coma, ESP, KTM at 3 hours 02.08
2, Jordi Viladoms, ESP, KTM at 12.54
3, Jakub Przygonski, POL, KTM at 22.45
4, Helder Rodrigues, PRT, Honda at 25.53
5, Riaan van Niekerk, ZAF, KTM at 32.04
Overall after Stage 5
1, Coma, 18 hours 45.11
2, Barreda at 41.10
3, Lopez at 53.41
4, Viladoms at 58.58
5, Duclos at 1:02.13
* Note second half of the special canceled for safety reasons
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