News 10 Jan 2014

Coma wins Stage 5, takes overall lead at Dakar

Three-time race winner ups the ante for Red Bull KTM.

Source: KTM Images.

Source: KTM Images.

Red Bull KTM factory rider and three-times Dakar winner Marc Coma rose to the occasion on Thursday during yet another very difficult day to claim his first stage victory in the 2014 Dakar Rally.

Coma led in teammate Jordi Viladoms and KTM-supported rider Kuba Przygonski, allowing KTM to scoop the top three places.

“I opened 90 percent of the stage today,” Coma said. “Everything was running well but it was soft sand and very technical and when you’re on the camel grass it is tough.

“At the end of the last part it was very difficult to find the finish line. I got to another river and had to cut back to find the correct one, but in the end it was good.”

Coma, who moved into second behind the leader Barreda on Wednesday by just three minutes has now taken control of the overall lead after winning the stage more than 12 minutes in front of Viladoms. He leads the overall standings by 41 minutes 10 from Barreda.

Barreda had a number of fueling problems during the stage on Thursday, but he remains confident in his position after relinquishing the lead. Teammate Paulo Goncalves was helpless as his 450 Rally caught fire and burnt to the ground during the stage.

“At the beginning of the stage I lost some minutes due to problems with the fuel system, but I could catch up pretty good and found a decent speed and rhythm in the endless sand whoops,” Barreda reflected.

“At the end of the stage it was very difficult to find the right way through various dry riverbeds, but I could manage quite well. Unfortunately a few km before the finish I had another a problem with the fuel system, and it took me valuable time to fix it and continue towards the finish.

“I am happy to be back at the bivouac after this tough day. At least I am still second in the overall classification. We are still in a very good position in the race and we will do everything the next days to assure a top result.”

Cyril Despres eventually finished in 18th after a difficult stage. Fuel problems forced him to end his search for the elusive WP17 prematurely. He received an extra hour’s penalty for the missing waypoint, dropping him to 34th for the day and 13th overall.

The physical nature of Thursday’s stage was also evident. Many riders were reported to have suffered from dehydration and exhaustion from the extreme temperatures. Because of this, race officials scrapped the second half of the timed special, originally set for a massive 527km.

With just five of 13 stages complete, the rally this year has been marked by the number of top contenders who are either out of the race or are now well down the order. Of the original field of 196 riders, 54 had withdrawn by the end of Stage 4. Many more joined them during today’s stage.

Australia’s contenders now sees Troy O’Connor lead the way in 42nd, from Allan Roberts in 53rd and Shane Diener climbing the order the 64th during the fifth stage.

2014 Dakar Rally

Stage 5 results:
1. Marc Coma 3h02m08
2. Jordi Viladoms +12m54
3. Jakub Przygonski +22m45
4. Helder Rodrigues +25m53
5. Riaan van Niekerk +32m04
6. Juan Carlos Salvatierra +33m12
7. Juan Pedrero Garcia +34m03
8. Stefan Svitko +36m38
9. Robert van Pelt +37m04
10. Daniel Gouet +37m53

Overall standings (after Stage 5):
1. Marc Coma 18h45m11
2. Joan Barreda +41m10
3. Francisco Lopez +53m41
4. Jordi Viladoms +58m58
5. Alain Duclos +1h02m13
6. Jeremias Israel Esquerre +1h23m30
7. Olivier Pain +1h27m22
8. Jakub Przygonski +1h43:02
9. David Casteu +1h52m41
10. Helder Rodrigues +1h58m18

Click here for detailed results