News 16 Jan 2011

Coma wins third Dakar Rally, Aussie Smith claims 32nd overall

Spaniard Marc Coma won his third Dakar Rally over the weekend for KTM.

Spaniard Marc Coma won his third Dakar Rally over the weekend for KTM.

Spanish Red Bull KTM rider Marc Coma has won his third Dakar Rally, today wrapping up the 2011 running of the Personal Dakar Argentina Chile.

Coma reached his third Dakar victory by keeping Cyril Despres under control in the final stages, leading the race since Stage Four.

The easy route turned into a nightmare for ‘Chaleco’ Lopez, who lost a third place on the podium and in the standings to Helder Rodrigues due to mechanical breakdowns.

Avoid trembling was the motto of the day. En route to Santiago de Baradero, Coma started with more than 16 minutes lead in the general standings on his long-term contender Despres.

The risk of seeing this lead go to waste for title holder was almost nil for the title holder, so the big challenge of this special stage was to stay focused.

On the long straight stretches of trail, the Catalan who was opening the road went in clean and fast. Despres could only follow and was never able to catch up with the expected winner.

Coma only had to keep his opponent under control and only lost 1:30 to Despres on the finish line of the stage. The total time gap between the two men in the standings is 15:04.

Finishing second, Despres will have a hard time coming to terms with the 10 minutes lost for a silly penalty.

As for Coma, he can claim ‘paternity’ of the perfect race, his riding craft brings him a third Dakar victory, the same number of final victories as Despres.

The third place on the podium seemed to be promised to Chilean rider Lopez, who had also finished third last year. With a 43-minute lead on his closest pursuant it was a sure deal.

Unfortunately, fate hit hard on ‘Chaleco’ who broke the rear shock absorber of his bike on kilometre 159 – just 22km shy of the end.

On the finish line, Helder Rodrigues, who just made the second fastest time of the special stage, just five minutes behind Verhoeven is counting the minutes.

Despite the help of Alain Duclos, who is now towing his leader, ‘Chaleco’ only crossed the finish line at 13:23. Much too late – actually 29 minutes too late – to save his third place now occupied by the Portuguese rider.

After Aprilia in 2010, it is therefore a Yamaha bike that finishes right behind the two lead KTM bikes.

For Rodrigues, who finished fourth last year, it is a dream come true.

Australia’s GHR Honda rider Jacob Smith finished the final stage 89th, good enough for a solid 32nd overall in his first Dakar appearance.

BMW rider Simon Pavey was 93rd today, wrapping up his rally in 70th for 2011.

2011 Dakar Rally
Stage 13 Results

1. Frans Verhoeven, Belgium, BMW
2. Helder Rodrigues, Portugal
3. Jean De Azevedo, Brazil, KTM
4. Cyril Despres, France, KTM
5. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM
89. Jacob Smith, Australia, Honda
93. Simon Pavey, Australia, BMW

Final Overall Results
1. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM
2. Cyril Despres, France, KTM
3. Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha
4. Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia
5. Juan Pedrero, Spain, KTM
32. Jacob Smith, Australia, Honda
70. Simon Pavey, Australia, BMW