MARC COMA FINISHES A PERFECT RALLY WITH A VICTORY
Negative day for Repsol KTM team mate Jordi Viladoms, who was forced to retire due to a mechanical problem despite running in a secure second overall position
2005 Raid World Championship Marc Coma clinched this morning the overall victory of the Pharaons Rally in Egypt, taking today's stage victory as well, thus achieving four stage victories out of seven stages raced. Team mate Jordi Viladoms, who also made an impeccable race throughout the whole week, had to suffer the bitter side of this sport being forced to retire with only 100 Km left for the end of the race. A support of the rear shock absorber of Viladoms' bike gave in causing the shock absorber to break down, as well as the wheel and the whole rear side, only two kilometres before CP1 and the assistance point. The motorbike suffered so many damages in the rear side that the Repsol rider was not able to continue in the race. Despite not being able to get on the podium in Egypt it is worth mentioning the impeccable race carried out by the yet inexperienced Viladoms, keeping in second position throughout the weekend following Coma and without making hardly any mistakes, showing good quality and maturity.
Stage 7. Bahariya-Cairo. 210 Km.
Today's stage was very fast from the beginning, combining some areas with a little bit of grass and some other with a lot more vegetation. Before arriving at CP1 the route crossed a very fast sand ouadi, which allowed for amusing but demanding riding. After the Cairo road, the track became narrow and fast with some dangerous descents where riders had to be very careful with speed. CP2 was halfway the special and from then on the ground didn't change much. There were some perfectly well-preserved tree trunks, remainders of what had been a large forest long time ago. Close to Km. 175,46 the riders left the last dune of the 2006 Pharaons Rally behind and followed a road that took them directly to the finish in the exotic city of Cairo, on a very fast ground.
Marc Coma: "It was our intention to make this stage a mere formality, trying to avoid any mistake that might cause any problem. Everything went perfectly well and it's been a more or less easy day. I'm happy with the race we've made. Our aim here was to recover the pace and to get back the good feeling on the bike, and I think that we've accomplished everything more than enough. This result is important and shows us that we're working on the right line in the face of the next Dakar. And that's important because the days until de new edition in 2007 are getting less and less. I'm sorry for Viladoms because he made a perfect raid and it's been a shame that he had to retire so close to the finish."
Jordi Viladoms: "It's a shame because the raid had been perfect until that point and I was so happy for the result we were going to achieve. A support of the rear shock absorber broke and that caused the shock absorber itself to break down, as well as the wheel; and the dumper was also quite damaged. I tried to reach CP1 and the assistance point anyway I could but I was dragging the lower part of the engine along the ground so I had to stop 2 Km from CP1. This hasn't been a good day for me."
<pre> Standings Overall 1. M.Coma KTM 9:12:00 2. P.Ullevalseter KTM + 45:48 3. J.Azevedo KTM + 1:24:00 4. D.Casteu KTM + 1:38:23 5. F.Lopez Honda + 03:11:07