Marc Coma, second in a sad start
The MRW rider finishes the first stage only 14 seconds behind the winner —2 minutes, 10 seconds ahead of his team mate, Joan Pedrero— in a day marked by the death of Argentinean Martínez Boero
It is underway. After a year of races, tests and waiting, the Dakar started again today. A stage of more than 800 kilometres, 57 of them timed, where Marc Coma put himself forward for victory, finishing in second position, only 14 seconds behind ‘Chaleco’ López, winner of this first stage. The MRW rider needed 32 minutes and 51 seconds, 2 minutes and 10 seconds less than his team mate Joan Pedrero, who finished 18th the day the rally showed his worst face, with the death of an Argentinean rider.
To welcome 2012, the participants left today Mar del Plata towards Santa Rosa de la Pampa, with a first stage in the coast. Surrounded by the beautiful Argentinean landscape, Coma and Pedrero found the first dune to start warming up and having the first impressions of the race. A picture that contrasts with the worst news of this race, the crash of Argentinean Jorge Martínez Boero, who died when he was being moved by helicopter to the hospital.
Tomorrow the riders will leave to San Rafael, in a new stage of nearly 800 kilometres, with a link of 486km and 295 timed kilometres and a very fast first half before finding again the typical Dakar dunes.
"Today we had the first 57 timed kilometres, a very short stage but with many things to do. We started parallel to the coast, to the south, in a very beautiful track that required a good riding. After we got away from the coast through four or five kilometres of dunes. Finally we found a wide track, very fast and without difficulties until the end. It was a short stage, but with different terrains that allowed to start to gather sensations and set the pace.
I want to send my condolences to all the family and friends of Jorge Martínez Boero. When things like that happen is not good for our sport, but, above all, no one should pay such a high price for a race".
"Today, as it was the first day, we started very nervous, so the aim was to finish the stage and ride calmly to secure the arrival, because we had a stage in front of us where we had more to lose than to win.
I set a quiet pace, testing that everything was working well, both the bike and the navigation. Tomorrow we will be more calm".