News 13 Jan 2011

Despres error allows Coma to stretch out lead on Dakar Stage 10

Red Bull KTM's Marc Coma has one hand on the 2011 Dakar Rally title after Stage 10.

Red Bull KTM's Marc Coma has one hand on the 2011 Dakar Rally title after Stage 10.

The return to Argentine territory of the Personal Dakar Argentina-Chile 2011 turned out to be very complicated for the challengers.

Despite setting off behind Cyril Despres, his main rival for the bike title, Marc Coma took advantage of a major mistake by the Frenchman to put one hand on the trophy.

On completion of the 10th stage, the Catalan now has a lead of 19 minutes over Despres as well as a third special stage victory.

Despres will probably have difficulty forgetting the 97 kilometre point on the 10th special of the Dakar, because this is where the French rider made life complicated for himself, almost impossibly so, in his quest for a fourth title on the Dakar.

Following a flying start to try and distance Coma, Despres was opening the way and took the wrong valley in his approach to a portion of dunes.

After heading left in the company of Frans Verhoeven, the Frenchman found himself going back and forth over rocky ground, before struggling to find the right way.

Worse still, he went on to lose more time at the finish, when during the last 15 kilometres he became stuck in a dry river bed to the left of the correct track.

At the end of the day, the damage for the Andorran resident was a new stage victory for Coma, his third this year, and more importantly 9:56 lost to the Spaniard. In the general standings, Coma has a comfortable lead of 18:10.

Far behind this battle between the favourites, Helder Rodrigues took advantage of his lowly starting position of 11th to pick up the best times at the two CPs after 23km and 115km.

Like yesterday, the Portuguese rider dominated the race, but also like yesterday, he came unstuck at the finish, ending up in eighth place, almost half an hour behind the day’s winner.

The current third placed rider in the general standings, ‘Chaleco’ Lopez, had one hell of a fright. The Chilean, having experienced problems with his petrol pump, was fortunately assisted by his Aprilia teammate, Farres Guell.

He finished the special in fifth place, behind Ruben Faria and the surprising Miran Stanovnik. In the general standings, Lopez increased the gap between him and Rodrigues.

Leading Aussie Jacob Smith finished 18th on the 10th stage, now sitting in 39th overall despite a three hour time penalty yesterday.

As for Simon Pavey, his race took a disastrous turn for the worse yesterday as he lost eight hours in the stage.

2011 Dakar Rally
Stage 10 Results

1. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM
2. Cyril Despres, France, KTM
3. Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM
4. Miran Stanovnik, Slovenia, KTM
5. Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia
18. Jacob Smith, Australia, Honda

Standings after Stage 10
1. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM
2. Cyril Despres, France, KTM
3. Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia
4. Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha
5. Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM
39. Jacob Smith, Australia, Honda