|SA-Dakar Rally: "Final duels" - Marc Coma leads Despres 1:35 minutes SS12.|
Taking advantage of the starting order today, the third man out, Marc Coma, achieved a not inconsiderably splendid performance in the dunes at the end of the special stage to pick up his 5th stage victory 2012. More importantly, the Catalan beat his main rival Cyril Despres by 3:57 minutes and regained the lead in the general standings by 1:35 mins.
Assisted by the strategy used yesterday, which enabled him to start the day's special in 3rd position, Marc Coma went on all out attack throughout the 197 kilometres of the timed section on the 12th stage, picking up his 21st stage victory on the Dakar ever.
At the finishing line, the Spaniard beat his two countrymen, rally revelation Joan Barreda (Husqvarna), 2nd 2:43 minutes behind, and Jordi Viladoms (KTM), 3rd 3:10 mins behind.
Handicapped by having to open the road, Cyril Despres tried everything to foil the Catalan's strategy. Risking everything, the Frenchman managed to only concede a little more than thirty seconds before getting to grips with the unstable dunes on the last part of the special stage.
On this tricky terrain, despite the enjoyment he claimed, the man from Andorra could not prevent himself from losing time whilst opening the road, finally conceding 3:57 mins to his main rival.
Two days from the finish in Lima, Coma has taken command of the general standings, 1:35 minutes ahead of Despres, who nevertheless may have played a good strategic card, since he will have the advantage of starting in 4th position tomorrow, whilst his Catalan rival will have to open the road.
Behind, the battle for the 3rd place on the podium is still close: Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha), 7th today 7:31 mins behind Coma, lost 4:21 mins to his main rival Jordi Viladoms (KTM), and now only has a lead of 26:45 mins over the 2nd Catalan in the Top 4.
2012/01/13 | 20:23 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/ASO