Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma finished in fifth in Stage 10 of the 2014 Dakar Rally, preserving his overall lead in this annual motorsports epic. The KTM factory rider now has a 44-minute 10 lead over second placed Joan Barreda.
Red Bull KTM’s Jordi Viladoms was eleventh in the stage and is still at overall third with a 14-minute advantage over Frenchman Olivier Pain.

Coma said it had not been an easy day and despite the margin of his lead, he is still cautious. When asked if he was already thinking about a possible victory he said: “No, if we start to think like that we’re in the wrong direction. We have to stay focused all the time. We have two very tough days, especially tomorrow. It is 600 km and the longest special of the rally and everything is possible.”

Coma started the day with a 55 minute 36 second lead over second placed Barreda after his rival picked up a 15-minute penalty overnight. Coma’s teammate Jordi Viladoms went into the stage at third with his closest challenge coming from Jeremias Esquerre of Chile. But today was the end of the Dakar for Esquerre who crashed out and had to withdraw.

Viladoms said at the end of the stage that it had been a tough day and navigation had been an issue. “I got lost twice and I lost some time so now we must push one hundred present if we want to keep this position. Fourteen minutes is nothing at the Dakar so we must work really hard for these three days. The most important thing is that I don’t make mistakes and then I can keep this position.”

It was a good day for KTM-supported rider Kuba Przygonski of Poland who finished in sixth for his best performance so far in this rally and is seventh overall. KTM Team Manager Alex Doringer said earlier in the week that Kuba was learning a lot from being in close contact with Coma this year and it was showing in the quality of his riding.

Przygonski after Stage 10: “The battle is from the beginning to the end and we have three more days to go. We have 600 km tomorrow and it will be a really tough stage. We’ll see what happens.”

Riders faced Wednesday’s special in two stages in sands of the Atacama Desert. The first took them on a descent down to the shores of the shores of the Pacific for the first 200 km but then the second part had its share of the fine and unpredictable dust called fesh-fesh at they headed along twisting and turning mining tracks on their way to the bivouac in Antofagasta.

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KTM-supported rider Riaan van Niekerk of South Africa, riding in his second Dakar, is on a steep learning curve. He said navigation was key in the first part of the stage when riders were in the dunes. “There was quite a lot of fesh-fesh and its not nice at all. You’re in the dust and getting tired. As soon as you try to push you make a mistake. That’s what makes the Dakar. Its not the beginning, its trying to get to the finish.”

A fresh challenge awaits the riders on Thursday in Stage 11 from Antofagasta to El Salvador where they will be on their bikes for 749 km, 605 km of which is the timed special, the longest of this year’s rally. It will be a key stage and even the fastest of the motorcyclists can expect to be riding for around seven hours.

Results Stage 10 (unofficial)
Iquique to Antofagasta – 58 km liaison, 631 km special = 689 km
Stage Results
1, Joan Barreda, ESP, Honda 4 hours 42.00
2, Helder Rodrigues, PRT, Honda at 8.00
3, Cyril Despres, FRA, Yamaha at 9.40
4, Olivier Pain, FRA, Yamaha at 11.11
5, Marc Coma, ESP, KTM at 11.26
Other KTM
6, Kuba Przygonski, POL, KTM at 15.08
7, Stefan Svitko, SVK, KTM at 15.14
9, Ivan Jakes, SVK, KTM at 18.17
11, Jordi Viladoms, ESP, KTM at 19.27
12, Riaan van Niekerk, ZAF, KTM at 23.29
17, David Casteu, FRA, KTM 29.57

Overall after Stage 9
1, Coma, 41 hours 48.33
2, Barreda at 44.10
3, Villadoms at 2:02.03
4, Pain at 2:16.12
5, Rodrigues at 2:21.16
Other KTM
7, Przygonski at 2:29.15
9, Svitko at 3:33.07
10, Casteu at 3:41.54
11, Jakes at 4:12.49
12, Van Niekerk at 4:29.51

Despres-Yamaha-Stage-10-1-16-14
Strong rides by both Cyril Despres and Olivier Pain on stage ten of the 2014 Dakar Rally have seen them move further up the overall standings today. The 631km special stage between Iquique and Antofagasta required all the skill of the Yamaha Factory Racing riders to conquer the fesh-fesh and sand along the coast line of Chile. Despres was the fastest Yamaha rider of the day, completing the timed section in third to move up two places in the overall standings to sixth. Despres is now just 26 minutes and 24 seconds from the top three.

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As the 36th Annual Dakar Rally continued into Chile Wednesday, Stage 10 brought competitors on a two part special from Iquique to Antofagasta. Tagged as one of the longest specials of this year comprising of a 58-kilometer liaison to a two-part 631-kilometer special encompassed with many challenging features along the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The American duo of Robby Gordon and co-driver Kellon Walch would navigate their SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HST Gordini through the dunes for 200-kilometers, before taking on the extremely difficult sections of fesh-fesh to close the stage.

Joan-Barreda-Stage-10-Dakar-1-15-14
It was a fourth stage win for Joan Barreda in the 2014 Rally Dakar, and a fifth victory for the Honda CRF450 RALLY, as the team completed the double with Hélder Rodrigues coming in second. Javier Pizzolito ends in 8th place.

The tenth stage of the epic Rally Dakar proved to be a really long but fruitful one for the Honda riders who stole the top two positions on the CRF450 RALLY. Joan Barreda dominated the Antofagasta stage with Hélder Rodrigues finishing the 688 km course behind him.

BJ-Baldwin-Dakar-Off-Road-1-15-14
According to the Toyo Tires Dakar blog, BJ Baldwin is not continuing in the 2014 Dakar after a hole was found in his fuel cell before starting the 10th stage. Here’s what the Toyo blog said: BJ made the decision to not start this morning after a massive hole was discovered in the fuel cell end of day yesterday.  Of course it was a tough decision to not continue but also an easy one when he considered the risks and his family.

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Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull KTM’s three-time winner of the world’s toughest rally on Tuesday bagged his second stage win in this year’s edition of the Dakar. Coma finished ahead of Joan Barreda and old rival Cyril Despres to edge further ahead in the overall standings as the competition enters Chile.

Coma, who has been suffering from a cold these past days felt better on Tuesday and delivered a great controlled ride, taking over the lead in the latter part of the stage. He said at the finish it had been “very fast and very nice”. He is now in front by 40 minutes 19.

Coma’s factory teammate Jordi Viladoms also had a good day to finish sixth and consolidate his third overall position. He now has a good 30-minute advantage over fourth placed Chilean rider Esquerre.

Riwald-Stage-9-Dakar-1-15-14
IQUIQUE –
The ninth stage of the Dakar Rally, from Calama through the spectacular sand dunes to Iquique, promised to be the most prestigious stage of the 2014 Dakar. A heavy special stage with a spectacular descent of 1,000 meters high dunes towards the bivouac. The Riwald Dakar Team unfortunately did not emerge unscathed at the finish.

Erik Wevers and navigator Fabian Lurquin were stuck with technical problems after 37 kilometres. They could not solve the problem at the scene. After hours of discussion they called the team with the request to pick up and drag the HRX Ford towards the bivouac. Unfortunately, that means the rapid duo is out of the rally.

Cyril-Despres-Yamaha-Dakar-1-14-14
The wait is over today as Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cyril Despres made a little piece of history, taking his maiden stage victory with the manufacturer. After a challenging first half of the 2014 Dakar Rally, Despres was on fine form today, controlling the pace at the front of the field with his YZ450F machine to complete the special stage over two minutes clear of his rivals. The result moves him up a place in the overall standings to ninth.

The defending champion started third this morning on the 499km special, and was quick to catch Marc Coma before closing in on Joan Barreda as they tackled the route around the salt pans of Uyuni. Despres eventually arrived at the bivouac in Calama 2’09 ahead of Barreda and 2’15 in front of Marc Coma.

Joan-Barreda-Team-HRC-Dakar-1-14-14
TEAM HRC’s Joan Barreda finished the eighth stage of the Rally Dakar 2014 in second place. Hélder Rodrigues crossed the finish-line in fourth, and Laia Sanz continues her run of excellent performances on the Honda CRF450 RALLY pre-production model.

The Dakar said goodbye to an accommodating and vibrant Bolivia, and has moved on to Chile. Today saw the second leg of the marathon stage, in the area of Salar de Uyuni, which had been reduced in length by some twelve kilometres.

Dakar-Robby-Gordon-Stage-8-1-14-14
Calama, Chile – The Dakar Rally entered Chile Monday, the second different country in which the cars would compete during the 35th Dakar Rally. Over the course of his 10 years competing in the Dakar Rally, Stage 8 marked Robby Gordon’s 100th Dakar Stage , and this experience clearly helped the American navigate the SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HST Gordini along the narrow and fast course over the Andes Cordillera on its route to Calama.

Starting in the 56th position after a wheel problem in Stage 7, Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch knew dust and slower traffic would be an issue as they attempted to move the SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HST Gordini towards the front. Through all of the misfortune of the 2014 Dakar Rally Team SPEED still remains optimistic to make the HST Gordini the fastest car on course by learning and making changes each day.