Dakar Rally – Stage Nine
On stage nine – dominated by the sand – Marc Coma reinforced his lead in the overall standings by picking up his 23rd career stage victory on the Dakar Rally.
Announced as one of the key stages on this 36th edition, the 422-km long stage between Calama and Iquique allowed Marc Coma to gain even more psychological superiority over the rest of the field.
The third to start this morning, behind Barreda and Despres, the KTM rider caught up with his rivals and rode the stage in their company – demonstrating his control of the race.
“It was a complicated stage in the Atacama Desert,” remarked Coma. “Nice and very fast at the beginning, but on the last part we found some dunes. I tried to catch Joan, because he started two minutes in front of me. When I caught up with him I tried to follow to ride together to the end. It was a good day for me.”
In the end, Coma won his second stage in 2014 and his 23rd on the Dakar placing over one minuten ahead of his Joan Barreda – second placed rider in the overall standings – and five minutes and 28 seconds clear of Cyril Despres. The Yamaha rider was slowed at the end of the special stage by the fear of running out of petrol in the dunes.
Behind the top three, the day was again marked by the problems of Sherco’s Alain Duclos who needed a tow to the bivouac from team-mate Francisco Errazuriz.
Sixth on the stage, Jordi Viladoms benefitted from Duclos’ problems to move into third overall in the general classification.
Laia Sanz delivered another excellent day, improving on her best results thus far in the Dakar. Tenth at the first time-check, she was able to cross the line in Iquique in ninth place despite having to use the road book manually for over 200kms.
Results – Dakar Rally, Stage 8
1. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) 04:49:05 hrs
2. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:01:41
3. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +00:05:28
4. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP, Sherco) +00:08:43
5. Stefan Svitko (SVK, KTM) +00:09:42
6. Jordi Viladoms (ESP, KTM) +00:11:23
7. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +00:11:44
8. Ivan Jakes (SVK, KTM) +00:13:40
9. Laia Sanz (ESP, Honda) +00:14:34
10. Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHL, Speedbrain) +00:15:01
Provisional overall standings:
1. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) 36:55:24 hrs
2. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:40:19
3. Jordi Viladoms (ESP, KTM) +01:38:45
4. Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHL, Speedbrain) +02:07:06
5. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +02:16:10
6. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +02:24:25
7. Jakub Przygonski (POL, KTM) +02:25:16
8. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +02:29:56
9. Daniel Gouet (CHL, Honda) +02:57:42
10. David Casteu (FRA, KTM) +03:23:06