Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma on Wednesday consolidated his position at the head of the overall standings in Stage 10 of the Dakar Rally, picking up another two minutes on second-placed Paolo Goncalves of Portugal.
Coma, A Red Bull athlete now leads the standings by a margin of seven minutes 35 but there are still many kilometers to the finish at Buenos Aires and he still has to weather the second half of the second marathon stage on Thursday. Riders are not permitted any mechanical assistance or support from their teams at the halfway point of a marathon stage.
The Spanish factory rider was second in Stage Ten, which was won by Joan Barreda of Spain who has been Coma’s constant companion throughout the rally. Barreda’s chances of a victory were more or less thwarted on Tuesday when he, like many other riders experiences technical difficulties crossing Bolivia’s massive salt lake.
Coma said after the stage that it was important to stay focused so close to the end of the rally. “It’s been a tough Dakar,” he said. “We have to fight many adverse situations but after so many days and despite the suffering, I am still enjoying it. That is what is great about this race. It makes you confront your limits and when you think you can’t do any more, you face them and move on. Today’s stage was very hard and it was not easy to keep up a high pace. At first there was the altitude, and then a technical part that really tested us. I tried to keep up the same pace throughout the stage.”
Coma finished one minute 39 second behind Barreda, followed by factory teammate Ruben Faria of Portugal at 1.57 and KTM-supported rider Toby Price of Australia at 2.14. Price is fourth in the overall standings and has the possibility of catching third placed Chilean KTM rider Pablo Quintanilla, who is only around half a minute in front of the Australian. KTM currently has seven riders in the top ten positions in the overall standings. Red Bull KTM Factory riders and KTM-supported riders are contesting the Dakar on the KTM 450 RALLY.
Austria’s Matthias Walkner, who like Price was riding his debut Dakar for KTM was forced to withdraw before the start of Wednesday’s special due to illness. Walkner has had an impressive first Dakar experience with many highs and lows. Almost always among the fastest riders, he comes away with a stage win and a reputation for fighting back hard from adverse situations.
The stage took riders back across the Andes and into Argentina as the rally turns east to head back to the finish in Buenos Aires at the weekend. The timed special started on the Salinas Grandes, more than 3600m above sea level and the liaison stage saw them climb to a staggering 4970 m to cross the mountains via the de L’ACay pass so both riders and bikes had to contend with the debilitating effects of altitude.
In Stage Eleven riders will travel from Cachi to Termas Rio Honda over a total distance of 512 km, of which 351 km is timed special.
Stage Ten Dakar 2015
Calama-Cachi Marathon Stage – 520 km liaison, 371 km special (891 km) – first half of the second marathon stage
Provisional Stage Results
1, Joan Barreda, ESP, Honda at 4:07.11
2, Marc Coma, ESP, KTM at 1.39
3, Ruben Faria, POR, KTM at 1.57
4, Toby Price, AUS, KTM at 2.14
5, Paolo Goncalves, POR Honda at 3.46
6, Stefan Svitko, SVK, KTM at 6.22
7, Helder Rodrigues, POR, Honda, at 6.26
8, Pablo Qunitanilla, CHI, KTM 6.29
9, Ivan Jakes, SVK, KTM, 8.59
10, Hans Vogels, NDL, KTM, at 10.19
11, David Casteu, FRA, KTM at 11.27
18, Paolo Ceci, ITA, KTM at 16.18
21, Jakub Przygonski, POL, KTM at 19.15
Note: Matthias Walkner, AUT, KTM withdrew due to illness before the start of the timed special
Overall Standings after Stage 10
1, Coma, KTM at 38:13.50
2, Goncalves at 7.35
3, Qunitanilla KTM at 31.42
4, Price, KTM at 32.06
5, Svitko, KTM at 45.19
6, Casteu, KTM at 1:41.14
7, Faria, KTM at 1:41.40
8, Sanz at 2:05.00
9, Jakes, at 2:25.51
11, Vogels, KTM, 3:21.36
14, Ceci, KTM at 4:32.50
17, Przygonski KTM at 4:59.14
Route Stage 11: 15.1: Second half of the second marathon stage to Termas Rio Honda (Argentina)- 161 km liaison, 351 km special (512 km)