News 6 Jan 2010

Rally: Coma strikes with day five victory in Dakar Rally

With a ninth stage victory in the Dakar, Marc Coma has regained some ground in the general standings of a race still dominated by Cyril Despres. Rally raid experience teaches that victories are built in the long run. After losing more than 40 minutes in two days on grounds of penalty and multiple failures of a moody engine, title holder Coma is fighting hard to regain ground in the general standings. The arrival in Chile and the first contact with the Atacama Desert were the playground of Coma’s demonstration of full mastery.

After starting ninth today, the Catalan finishes with the best clock of the day after passing by along the trail the likes of Street, Manca and Duclos. Focused and efficient, Coma may now see the fruits of his hard work upon arrival. He beat second placed Casteu by 2’04’’ and stole 3’14’’ back to Despres in third, who was in charge of opening the trail today. In the end the day’s good work pushes Coma up three places in the overall standings putting him 6th 36’50’’ behind Cyril Despres.

Behind the top trio the outsiders are still making their presence known. Francisco Lopez had managed to win in 2009 for the first finish in Chile. Behind the wheel of a 450cc Aprilia enrolled on the Dakar to make a point, the local rider did manage to achieve fourth place in today’s ranking arriving 5’06’’ after Coma.

The top five of the general standings remains unchanged with Helder Rodrigues, third 23’45’’ behind Despres, Luca Manca fourth at 29’51’’ and Alain Duclos fifth at 38’20’’, who all confirm their intentions to shake up the ‘battle of the chiefs’.