Marc Coma making great strides in the Dakar The young rider reaches the halfway point of the race in the third overall position behind DesprÃ¨s and 2.51 minutes from the provisional leader, Meoni If the first part of the race has been ...
Marc Coma making great strides in the Dakar
The young rider reaches the halfway point of the race in the third overall position behind Desprès and 2.51 minutes from the provisional leader, Meoni
If the first part of the race has been complicated, the second doesn't look much better. Marc Coma is using the rest day to get back strength and reflect on his great performance in the rally. Despite having been leading the race for two days and not having made hardly any mistake, the Spanish rider is conscious about the fact that there is a long way ahead before reaching Dakar and that any mistake may be irreversible. A young promise in 2004, you find Coma's name in every bet of the Dakar 2005. And they don't seem to be wrong so far.
How does it feel after leading the Dakar for two days?
"It's something incredible. I've had the luck to lead the race on two days, although it was a quite strange feeling. The first day was the day Jordi Duran crashed and we were all saddened about that and it was no time for celebrations. The leadership is something that lasts only for a short time because there are several different leaders throughout the race. The most important thing is to be there and continue having chances to fight for the final victory. It doesn't matter if you've been leading the race in the beginning, if you don't reach the finish or you're not in top positions, it will have been useless."
You've almost made no mistakes until the halfway point. What has been your approach so far?
"I've always tried to make it as good as possible and make as little mistakes as possible; although it isn't easy. Except for little mistakes, which are unavoidable, I'm quite satisfied with how thing have worked out so far. We'll try to follow the same line until the end. Jordi Arcarons gave us a clear plan and that was to reach the rest day with chances, without being ruled out, without any important incident. I think we've managed to do it and we'll try to continue like that."
Strategy for the second half of the race?
"We have three hard days ahead and there's going to be a further selection of participants. I think that these are going to be the three or four days in which the race will be decided."
Many people say that this is the hardest edition so far. What do you think?
"I don't think that this is the hardest edition of all, but it's being quite complicated. The Dakar is never easy, but this edition has some additional difficulties, especially as regards navigation. The second part of the rally is waiting for us now, and it's going to be even harder; we'll talk about it once it's finished."
Let's talk about your closest rivals, such as Caldecott for example.
"Not many people know him because he's Australian and he doesn't usually race in Europe. But I already counted on him from the very start, I knew that he would be in the race and the truth is that he's doing a great job."
"Fabrizio is doing a great job as well; it's incredible what he's achieving considering his age. Being active in such a hard discipline like this and being so competitive is really admirable. He's playing his cards well, using his navigation expertise and his experience."
"I think that he's the one with the largest experience of all the young riders fighting for the victory. I'd say that he's the favourite."
And your team-mate Esteve...
"Isidre is doing a great job, although he made some little mistakes at the beginning, a crash, a problem with the mouse, the next day a problem with the fuel-- But considering the problems he's had, he's got around quite well. I'm sure that he'll be in the fight for the victory."
Would you add anybody else?
"Alfie Cox, despite being the backpacker of the Gauloises team. He's among the top people and he does a great job on sand tracks. His weak point is navigation, but he hasn't made any mistake so far and he's been within the top positions every day. Another one to consider would be Fretigne and his Yamaha. Despite having a bike with less cylinder capacity than ours -450 cc.-, you see that his bike weights 60 kg less when the stages are very technical; he's also being very fast."
What are you most afraid of, the experience of somebody like Meoni or the youth and drive of somebody like, for example, Desprès?
"Everything, you cannot forget anybody, neither the veterans nor they young ones. I think that everybody has and will have a chance in this race. I have to be careful watching what everybody does, but above all what I do."
Which has been your worst moment so far?
"With no doubt Jordi Duran's accident. We riders know what it means to get hurt, it's the worst thing that can happen to you and Jordi hurt himself a lot. In addition we experienced it from very close."
And the best?
"Feeling comfortable in the lead. Riding fast at the pace of the leading riders and feeling comfortable within the top people. Feeling that you have a chance, I think that's the best."