Coma, second, recovers two minutes from Despres
The MRW rider, second in today's stage, finishes 21 seconds behind the leader in the overall standings. Joan Pedrero, with mechanical problems, is trying to get to the end of the stage
Good result today for Marc Coma in the last Chilean stage of the Dakar. The MRW rider was able to catch and overtake his main rival in the overall standings, Cyril Despres, and recover 2 minutes and 7 seconds. The current Rally winner finished second —1 minute and 32 seconds behind Joan Barreda— in the stage between Iquique and Arica, of 377 timed kilometres. After ten stages, Coma is only 21 seconds behind the leader of the race. Joan Pedrero had engine problems and might not be able to continue the rally. Right now he is trying to advance in the stage.
Marc Coma took advantage of not having to open the track. Starting from second position, the MRW rider started the day powerfully and from the first kilometres on dirt and stones he cut differences —more than 1 minute and a half in the first 100 km— with French Cyril Despres, leader of the overall standings and that today had to open the track. The rider from Avià kept a good pace during the whole stage and just before arriving to the dunes and the fesh-fesh area he caught and overtook the French rider. At the end of the stage, Coma cut 2 minutes and 7 seconds to Despres's advantage, reducing the difference between them to only 32 seconds.
The one that was not lucky in these 700 kilometres was Coma's team mate, Joan Pedrero, who is now between control points (CP) 5 and 6 with mechanical problems in his KTM Rally 450. The MRW rider was having a good stage, always among the top ten, saw how the stage got more complicated. After making a mistake in the route, he stopped in the dunes of kilometre 239. Right now Pedrero has to finish 20 km of dunes, another 100 km of track and finally 240km of link until arriving to the Arica bivouac. Pedrero will have a very long night in which he will do his best to arrive to Arica and repair his bike to keep helping Marc Coma in the battle for the lead.