Dakar: KTM stage three report

Esteve takes the lead The stage of today was a serious one. Navigation was the major accomplice for the third stage, the first on African soil. Isidre Esteve (KTM Gauloises) and Marc Coma (KTM Repsol) proved to be excellent navigators: they did...

Esteve takes the lead

The stage of today was a serious one. Navigation was the major accomplice for the third stage, the first on African soil. Isidre Esteve (KTM Gauloises) and Marc Coma (KTM Repsol) proved to be excellent navigators: they did not make a mistake.

Coma won the special, Esteve took the lead in the general standings. Esteve was happy with the lead, but even more with the fact that he had to open the piste and remained faultless. 'When you are the first to start, there is no track at all. You are all by yourself concerning finding the right way. I'm really happy I could manage that. It means more to me than getting the first place in the standings.'

Coma started as fifth this morning in Nador and could catch the others in front of him quite easily. 'It was a tough stage, with many holes and lots of stones. I'm satisfied with the result, but tomorrow is more important. We will have to ride very concentrated and keep the bike in one piece, since tomorrow is a marathonstage for the bikes, without assistance.'

Less happy was Cyril Despres (KTM Gauloises). The Frenchman got into trouble on km 170 in the special. His gearbox got stuck in first gear and thus he had to try to reach the finish 82 km ahead in first gear. He finished in 21st position. Despres was surprising positive. 'I'm not happy, but it is still a long way to Dakar.'

Teammate Frans Verhoeven pushed and pulled Despres from the finish of the stage to the bivouac, together with KTM Red Bull-rider Chris Blais. The Dutchman had some trouble himself as well, as his gearshift broke. 'I could not repair that and had to ride in second gear for the last 40 km.' Verhoeven came in as ninth.

-credit: ktm

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Cyril Despres , Marc Coma , Chris Blais , Frans Verhoeven