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Shamrock Rally: Coma wins and announces Dakar participation.

The last leg of the Rally of Morocco was turned on its head at the death. After winning today’s special, Marc Coma saw all the hard work by the Repsol KTM team in the last few days rewarded with victory at the end of the race following a penalty handed out to Cyril Despres. Jordi Viladoms had the opposite fortune when, battling for a place on the podium, he lost nearly an hour today as he foundered on a sea of stones after the mousse in his rear tyre came apart.

Today’s leg of a timed 180 kilometres saw a first part where navigation was the order of the day before things became more heavily involved with quicker tracks. Towards the end the competitors came upon more sandy patches and went past three mountain passes which added their bit to the beauty of the race. The script for the leg followed the expected order with Coma opening up the track with Viladoms behind him.
Both of them kept up a good pace and played leading roles in a good special up until the 125th kilometre, when Viladoms came to a halt in the middle of a sea of rocks with his rear tyre completely destroyed. The Repsol rider lost several minutes putting on an inner tube and finally made the finish 57 minutes and 45 seconds after his team-mate.
It was Marc Coma’s second stage victory with a 1 minute, 57 second lead over Cyril Despres and the added merit of having had to open up the way. This result left him 5 minutes and 2 seconds away from the Frenchman in the overall, yet Despres was penalised for speeding as he went through a village, which automatically handed victory to the Repsol rider. This was the reward for the team-work by Coma and Viladoms in the previous legs as, while today it was Viladoms who had tyre problems, two days ago it was Coma who had the mousse in his rear tyre melt. On that occasion Viladoms managed to stop and swap his wheel with Coma, who only lost seven minutes in the stage and this allowed him to get to today with a chance of winning.
Marc Coma confirms he will be riding in the Dakar 2010
Having finished the Morocco raid with this excellent result, Marc Coma confirmed at a press conference that he will compete in the next Dakar, to be held in Argentina and Chile from the 2nd to the 16th of January, to defend the number 1 status he will start it with. Coma has twice one the toughest event in the world of raid rallying - once in Africa in 2006 and the last time round this year, which was the first time it was held on South American soil.

“After winning yesterday it was down to me to open up the way. I kept up a good pace throughout, although I didn’t go on the attack. Actually, in the fastest parts I tried to look after the mechanics and not be too hard on the tyres. Everything went well and I managed to clinch another stage victory, which shows that as the stages have gone by we have gained more and more confidence. Physically I’m really well and I’m very pleased about how the race went having been at a standstill for so long. Shame about the two problems Viladoms and I had because overall the race went very well and Jordi deserved to be on the podium too. I want to dedicate this win to him because without him this wouldn’t have been possible.
Now we’ve got our sights on the Dakar 2010, which was a decision we had pending and which took a long time before it became official owing to the many different aspects that have to be taken into account. We have been weighing up the various options and finally we believe that competing in the Dakar under an umbrella like the ASO and with the welcome we got in Argentina and Chile it’s the best option. I’ve always said that I would like to race again in Africa because this is a very special continent for us but it’s very early days yet,” said Marc Coma.

“The leg was going really well and I was keeping up a good clip following Marc [Coma], up until the 125th kilometre when the mousse in my rear wheel broke up. I got the inner tube on quickly and carried on although I wasn’t able to do this at a decent pace. I was short of a part and there was a strong risk of getting a blow-out so I didn’t want to risk not managing to finish the race.
On balance though it was a very good race and I’m really happy about how it all went. We had thought of this race as a chance to see how good the team was and assess how everything was. Personally I’ve always been among the first three, which motivates me a lot going into the two months I’ve got left to prepare for the Dakar. The final result is a shame but I’m satisfied because we didn’t let ourselves get carried away by the race in a bid to hang onto a definite place, but instead we worked in a definite direction throughout and achieved our objectives while picking up useful information so we could carry on working,” said Jordi Viladoms.

2009/10/31 01:47 CET | Szerző: MR/Repsol/Kónya Rita

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