Marc Coma recovers the lead
The MRW rider recovers nearly four minutes in the twelfth stage and takes the overall lead with an advantage of 1 minute and 35 seconds
Fifth stage victory for Marc Coma in the 2012 Dakar, which helped him recover the lead of the race two days before the end. The MRW rider started today's stage four minutes behind Cyril Despres and after the 195 timed kilometres of the stage, he was able to catch the French rider to turn the overall classification around, as he is now leader with an advantage of 1 minute and 35 seconds.
In an edition closer than ever, the strategic importance of the starting order is having a key role in the last days of the race. In the Dakar, participants start each stage one by one, separated by two minutes and following the order of the previous stage. In this way, if two days ago Marc Coma recovered two minutes from Despres and the French did the same in yesterday's stage, today the MRW rider was able to recover four minutes, taking advantage of the fact that another rider classified yesterday between the two.
Two days before the end, Coma focused today in following the 259-kilometre link, a stage of 195 kilometres, 50 less than expected due to the rising of the level of the rivers in the first part of the route. Following the Pacific Ocean coast, it was a beautiful stage that required a lot of navigation in the first kilometres, due to the huge amount of tracks parallel to the beach. During the first 159 kilometres, Coma and Despres' times were very close and the MRW rider could only cut half a second from the French rider. Nevertheless, in the final dunes area Coma was able to increase the pace and catch Despres, to win the stage with an advantage of 3 minutes and 57 seconds over the French, who was finally fourth behind Barreda and Jordi Viladoms.
Tomorrow will be the penultimate stage, though no less demanding. In its way to Lima, the Dakar will follow the 375 kilometres between Nasca and Pisco, crossing again the dunes that dominate this part of the country. After a link of 100 kilometres, Coma will face a stage with 275 timed kilometres which, just before the 29 timed kilometres that will be held on Sunday between Pisco and Lima, might be crucial to the final result on Sunday.
"It was a very beautiful stage, especially in the last part, but also very tough, and I am sure the cars had a bad time. The first part of the stage had a lot of navigation and I focused on following the notes carefully to avoid mistakes.
I knew that in the last part there would be dunes and I would be able to recover, because there would be no lines, the sun was high and I know how difficult it is to open track under those conditions. Arriving from behind it was easier for me. But it is true that this makes it difficult for us to keep the first position tomorrow, as the starting order does not benefit us.
We have to study the stage carefully, because it is a long day, with a lot of dunes. That doesn't mean that we will not try or that we will give anything for free. Here you win being fast".