News 8 Jan 2010

Rally: Coma continues to push as rivals get lost in Dakar

Many navigation mistakes of his rivals have allowed Marc Coma to finish with the best time of the day in the bike category during stage six of the 2010 Dakar Rally in South America, moving up four places in the overall standings. If there was any demonstration of that fact needed, Coma displayed proof of his navigation talent today between Antofagasta and Iquique.

The first part of the special stage was a particularly challenging navigation test. Francisco Lopez, who was opening the track as yesterday’s special stage winner, was caught in the trap despite his knowledge of the area. After a bad choice at 23km, Lopez lost some precious minutes and took along some of the best “outsiders” of the raid like David Frétigné, Alain Duclos, Paulo Goncalves or Pal-Anders Ullevalseter.

As for the leader in the overall standings, Cyril Despres did not allow being influenced by the Aprilia rider. Luckily because he was able to keep a tidy and flawless race, making the right choices when interpreting the road-book he managed to get to the finish line on a sober strategy and a good but not too fast pace. Having left a little further behind the leaders in ninth position, the title holder managed to avoid “nav traps”.

Coma also decided to speed things up to climb back a few places in the standings. This proved to be the right strategy for the Spaniard who regains about 10’ on Despres and is now 1h06’ behind the standings leader. This 9th special stage victory also allows him to pass the like of Jonah Street, Paulo Goncalves, Pal-Anders Ullevalseter and Alain Duclos in the standings. He jumps four places in one day even if the other places he still needs to jump might be harder to conquer.