|SA-Dakar Rally: Marc Coma - "No way near over, there's another big stage".|
KTM’s Marc Coma was again the dominant rider in Stage 12 of the Dakar 2012 as riders tackled their second stage in Peru. The Spaniard played the waiting game and then made his attack in the final part of the timed special to be first over the line when riders reached Nasca. He now has a lead of 1:35 minutes over teammate Cyril Despres, the smallest of margins after 11 days of hard riding in this 9,000 km journey.
Coma now has five stage victories in this year’s rally and Despres has four to his credit and the two KTM riders, considered the greatest modern exponents of rally raid have long distanced themselves from the rest of the field. Third placed Helder Rodrigues of Portugal is currently in third but he trails the lead rider by a massive one hour 13 minutes and 49 seconds.
What Coma and Despres said at the end of today’s ride is a reflection of the wily nature of their rivalry. Coma played his cards close to his chest and in his usual non-committal way said.
"I set off four minutes after Cyril and I managed to catch up with him. For the entire first part of the special I mainly focused on navigation, because there was absolutely no room for mistakes. After that, I knew that there would be good opportunities to attack in the second part and that's where I managed to regain ground on Cyril. It's no way near over, because there's another big stage tomorrow."
For his part, Despres paid tribute to Coma, describing him as ‘quick and clever’. He also said it was a "magnificent stage". "It was one of the finest specials that I've ridden on the Dakar over the last few years. In sporting terms, I expected that Marc was going to catch up with me and that it wouldn't be a good day. But it was majestic."
"I don't have any regrets, because I attacked throughout the first part. You have to go for broke on this Dakar; it's not a race where you can play the waiting game. Against Marc Coma, I'm doing battle with an excellent rider. He's quick and clever. So, I try and find the right pace. Apparently, there are riders in between us, so that's good news for the start tomorrow."
It was a good day for KTM support rider Rubin Faria who finished sixth and moved up to 12th overall. Faria is Despres’ water carrier while Johnny Aubert, KTM’s Dakar rookie, who is now performing the same function for Coma after his support rider Joan Pedrero had to retire in Stage 11. Aubert is a member of the KTM Enduro Factory Team and is riding a standard KTM 450 Rally Replica in his first Dakar.
KTM’s Felipe Zanol of Brazil and Aubert, who both had an excellent day yesterday in the initial stage in Peru came unstuck in the dunes in the last part of today’s timed special to eventually come in in tenth and eighteenth respectively. Eight of the top ten riders in the overall standings are currently on KTMs.
2012/01/14 | 13:17 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/HS/KTM