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This is the single-news section of the marathonrally.com news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.









Dakar 2009: Marc Coma gives his views on the Dakar route.



Marc Coma cannot describe all the legs and special sections in the forthcoming Dakar from memory but he has been preparing very thoroughly for the 2009 edition of this legendary race.

To tackle the toughest race in the world the Repsol rider has been usiing the latest technology; computers and a lot of maps as well as recycling all the experience that was previously gained in South America in the Rally Patagonia Atacama. All this will allow Coma to start the race in Buenos Aires with a good idea of the challenges in store for him over the fifteen days that the race lasts.

Leg 1 - Saturday 3 January
Buenos Aires > Santa Rosa
Liaison : 196 km | Timed section: 371 km | Liaison : 166 km | Total: 733 km

Marc Coma: "At the beginning we will have some very fast stages leaving Buenos Aires in a southerly direction. We will cross a lot of farming land, on good, fast tracks. One thing we may find is rain, since a summer storm could well complicate the ride. In principle there should not be too many problems, but it is a relatively long first stage, much more so than the first few stages we are used to in Portugal where there are short timed sections before the the pace of the rally increases."

Leg 2 - Sunday 4 January
Santa Rosa > Puerto Madryn
Liaison : 0 km | Timed section: 237 km | Liaison : 600 km | Total: 837 km

Marc Coma: "This will be a very similar leg to the first. It seems that we will have another very fast timed section, above all at the beginning, but a priori without too many difficulties. We will get the first off-road tracks, and the navigation may get a little complicated in the zones with more civilization, as there will be a lot of parallel tracks and you have to ride looking at the roadbook. This will be a fast leg and regarding the distance it will be the longest in the whole rally, because at the end there is a liaison of 600 kilometres to Puerto Madryn."

Leg 3 - Monday 5 January
Puerto Madryn > Jacobacci
Liaison : 70 km | Timed section: 616 km | Liaison : 8 km | Total: 694 km

Marc Coma: "Here we move into the northern part of Patagonia, and it will be one of the toughest legs where the first riders will fall by the wayside. The terrain will start to change, and we will find tracks that are more mountainous, with more stones, more technical than we had on the first two days. Some differences may be set here, and we will have to keep an eye on the engine and the tyres."

Leg 4 - Tuesday 6 January
Jacobacci > Neuquen
Liaison : 4 km | Timed section: 459 km | Liaison : 25 km | Total: 488 km

Marc Coma: "After Jacobacci we change our heading as we return back towards the north, we leave Patagonia and enter the Argentinian Pampas. These are enormous plains, with few trees, but with quite a lot of grass; it is not open desert. We will even find a few dunes. I imagine that this will be one of the timed sections with a lot of dust, although it will depend on the weather conditions, and this may well complicate the ride."

Leg 5 - Wednesday7 January
Neuquen > San Rafael
Liaison : 173 km | Timed section: 506 km | Liaison : 84 km | Total: 763 km

Marc Coma: "We are now right in the middle of one of the toughest parts of the rally, that is until we reach the rest day in Valparaíso. These are legs that require a lot of work on the bike because we will start to find tracks that are on the edge of the Andean moutain chain. These are zones that mix technical sections with mountain riding, with more open areas of dunes that may give the navigation an important role. This will be a very demanding part of the rally."

Leg 6 - Thursday 8 January
San Rafael > Mendoza
Liaison : 76 km | Timed section: 395 km | Liaison : 154 km | Total: 625 km

Marc Coma: "This is along the same lines as the previous day, the leg to Mendoza could be the one that decides the race. There will be three very intense days, and you have to get through them without problems so that you reach the rest stage. There will be more dunes, above all at the beginning, then we really enter the Andes when we get to Mendoza. This is where the altitude may affect the riders and bikes, but we have been preparing for that the last few weeks as we don`t really know what might happen."

Leg 7 - Friday 9 January
Mendoza (ARG) > Valparaiso (CHL)
Liaison : 80 km | Timed section: 419 km | Liaison : 317 km | Total: 816 km

Marc Coma: "We finally enter Chile after almost a week on the bike. As always before a rest stage day, I imagine that the organisers will prepare a very tough leg, as we will have zones with dunes and even a little fesh-fesh, that is until we reach the tracks in the Andes that are over 3 000 metres high."

Saturday 10 January
Valparaiso

Marc Coma: "A good day to rest, reagain some strength, check the bike and prepare the second half of the race. This is also an important day in the race."

Leg 8 - Sunday 11 January
Valparaiso > La Serena
Liaison : 245 km | Timed section: 294 km | Liaison : 113 km | Total: 652 km

Marc Coma: "This is a leg that runs alongside the Pacific Ocean, and one that will have a lot of navigation and a lot of parallel tracks. We reckon that the timed section here will not be one of the most complicated since it is an area of transition until we reach the Atacama desert. The whole of this zone is where we have already ridden in the Rally Patagonia Atacama."

Leg 9 - Monday 12 January
La Serena > Copiapo
Liaison : 88 km | Timed section: 449 km | Liaison : 0 km | Total: 537 km

Marc Coma: "The timed section here is towards the end and we reach the real Atacama desert. Once again we will have quite a few changes in the terrain, as we follow the coast but going through mountainous zones, then in the end we will come across the giant dunes in the Atacama desert, and what is more at altitude. We are once again facing one of the toughest legs of the whole rally, and again the first of three very tough days. The timed section is a loop around Copiapó, and then the marathon leg."

Leg 10 - Tuesday 13 January
Copiapo > Copiapo
Liaison : 20 km | Timed section: 666 km | Liaison : 0 km | Total: 686 km

Marc Coma: "This will be the longest timed section in the rally, and in theory it has to be the toughest leg of the whole Dakar 2009, since it takes place completely at high altitude, at an average height of 3 000 metres above sea level. We will come across row upon row of complicated sand dunes, many of them off track. We could compare it to one of the great legs in Mauritania, those marked in red in the calendar as it is one of the most demanding in a race that is already tough in itself, with a lot of sand. Perthaps it will not be as hard as the ones in Mauritania in this respect, because the climate in Chile is not so humid, and the type of sand that we will find is unknown, but presumably it will not be so difficult to ride on as it will not be as fine nor as soft as in Africa."

Leg 11 - Wednesday 14 January
Copiapo > Fiambala
Liaison : 20 km | Timed section: 215 km | Liaison : 445 km | Total: 680 km

Marc Coma: "This will be the final leg in Chile, and once again another important stage, since although it is not so long it is a marathon leg and means you have to be more careful. On the marathon legs you have to take good care of the engine and tyres so that you avoid any risks the following day, or having to make repairs in the bivouac. This will be where we say farewell to the Atacama desert, and we cross the highest mountain pass in the whole race, at 4 700 metres."

Leg 12 - Thursday 15 January
Fiambala > La Rioja
Liaison : 4 km | Timed section: 253 km | Liaison : 261 km | Total: 518 km

Marc Coma: "When we return to Argentina we enter the most unknown part of the rally. Just like in the rest of the rally we will have a lot more dunes until we get close to Cordoba, where the WRC rally is held on the relatively fast mountain tracks."

Leg 13 - Friday 16 January
La Rioja > Cordoba
Liaison : 161 km | Timed section: 545 km | Liaison : 47 km | Total: 753 km

Marc Coma: "The route this year is designed so that we cannot lower our guard until the very end, this is because the penultimate day has this leg with a timed section that is over 500 kilometres long. This leg may be the one that decides the definitive finishing positions in the rally, and means that the race is completely open, right up to the last moment. In a race like this we know that you cannot lower your guard at all, not even for one second."

Leg 14 - Saturday 17 January
Cordoba > Buenos Aires
Liaison : 224 km | Timed section: 227 km | Liaison : 341 km | Total: 792 km

Marc Coma: "In theory this should not be a complicated leg, and we reach Buenos Aires. This leg should be a mere formality, in a zone similar to the one we rode on the first couple of days, but you never know. Presumably it will be a fast leg without any complications, like at the start, but there is a timed section of over 200 kilometres, at high speed and in a zone with many tracks where you always have to pay attention."

2008/12/30 | 23:21 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Repsol






















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