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Dakar 2007: Superb performance of Marc Coma in the 10th stage.

The 2007 Dakar Rally continues in Africa at a high pace and the tenth and last stage in Mauritania was raced today. Tomorrow, the caravan of participants, service crews and journalists will cover a liaison between Nema and Ayoun, thus enjoying a new break after the rest day in Atar. The changes made by the ASO for safety reason has lead to the cancellation of the special prepared for tomorrow which has been replaced by a liaison of 280 km through Mauritania. The first rider to leave the bivouac tomorrow at 11.00 a.m. will be the winner of today?s stage Rodrigues. On the day after tomorrow, Thursday, the 2007 Lisbon Dakar Rally will leave Mauritania to spend the night in Kayes, Mali, after the 257-km special to be raced between Ayoun and Kayes.

It´s been a positive stage for the leader of the overall standings and only representative left of the Repsol KTM Team. He has been able to keep his 54-minute advantage over the second classified rider, Frenchman Cyril Despres. Coma, who started third today behind Despres, had an incident-free special, and despite catching up with the Frenchman, the large amount of dust over the Mauritanian tracks made him decide not to take any risks and let him go some seconds ahead. Coma finally managed to increase his advantage over Despres in the overall standings by seven seconds.

Marc Coma: "The stage has been a bit more complicated than expected today. We have raced on very sandy tracks, funny to ride but at the same time very demanding. I started third today and was able to catch-up with Cyril, but he opened a gap due to the dust and in the end the difference hasn´t been too big. The most important is that we have another day behind us and since the track was completely sandy, quite fast in some sections and more technical in others with trees along the road, it was important to be careful. The most important is however that we?ve been through Mauritania without problems and that we are fulfilling our aims. Now we´re entering black Africa and a new race starts. We will have to be watchful and focussed in order to avoid any mistake. There are three stages left to Dakar and we are in a good position. Moreover, tomorrow will be a kind of a rest day which will also be good for us."

Jordi Arcarons, Repsol KTM Team Manager: "Now we´re leaving the hardest and longest stages in Mauritania behind us and we will enter black Africa, the area of the savannah, but the race will be as complicated as always. Despite leading the rally with an advantage of almost an hour you can never consider it a victory or celebrate it and we cannot be too optimistic either. We know that anything can happen at any time, not only with the machine. The tracks we are going to follow from now on are the typical tracks that link villages, meaning that there will be lots of animals, so you have to be extremely careful. An animal may cross the road at any time and spoil everything in a single moment. Marc is controlling the race very well so far, without letting himself go or being cheated by any kind of strategy of his rivals. At this point of the race, our rival teams have their four members, while we have only one left. But even so I see Marc really sober, big."

2007/01/16 | 19:50 CET | Editor: MR/KTM Repsol

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