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Photo: Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma of Spain finished second in Stage Seven of the Dakar rally on Sunday to continue to lead in the overall standings by a substantial 38 minutes 14 seconds from Joan Barreda of Spain. Red Bull KTM’s Jordi Viladoms moved up to third overall as the Rally moves into its second week.

KTM-Logo-2-14-12The 2014 edition of the Dakar Rally was billed at the outset as longer, harder and tougher. The first half of this annual motorsports test of strength for both man and machine have lived up to its reputation in every way.

As riders and teams settled into Salta in Argentina’s Andean foothills for the one day of respite in this 9,000 km epic, it was time to gather strength and assess what has been a very tough and eventful first half.

For the Red Bull KTM Factory team, bidding for its thirteenth Dakar title this year, it has been mixed fortunes so far. Three-time Dakar winner Marc Coma has performed to his usual high standard and leads at the half way mark by an impressive 42.17 minutes.

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Salta, Argentina (January 10, 2014)
– Coming off Thursday’s Stage 5 – one that Robby Gordon described as the most difficult he had faced in nine previous years of the Dakar Rally, Stage 6 did not get any easier for Gordon and his SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires team.

After finishing in a podium position the first time in 2014 after Stage 5, Team SPEED would receive news of a one-hour penalty that was applied following Stage 5 for missing a waypoint, thus forcing Gordon to forgo the third starting position for Friday’s Stage 6.

Coma-KTM-Dakar-1-9-14Red Bull KTM factory rider and three-times Dakar winner Marc Coma rose to the occasion on Thursday during yet another very difficult day to claim his first stage victory in the 2014 Dakar Rally. Coma led in teammate Jordi Viladoms and KTM supported rider Kuba Przygonski allowing KTM to scoop the top three places.

Coma said it had been another difficult day: “I opened ninety percent of the stage today. Everything was running well but it was soft sand and very technical and when you’re on the camel grass it is tough. At the end of the last part it was very difficult to find the finish line. I got to another river and had to cut back to find the correct one. But in the end it was good.”

Coma, who moved into second behind the leader Barreda on Wednesday by just three minutes has now taken control of the overall lead after winning the stage more than 12 minutes in front of Viladoms. He leads the overall standings by 41 minutes 10 from Barreda.

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Security reasons have been cited for the cancelation of the second part of the special, which made up almost a third of the overall distance of today’s stage. The first part of the special was run at a cracking place, taking in some dunes and off-route navigation, before arriving at the neutralization zone. The riders had 111 untimed kilometres to run prior to the start of the second part of the special, but the organization decided to call it off completely.

Joan Barreda sped off from sixth place today, looking to make up for lost time and straight away started clocking up some of the best times. Nevertheless, as he caught up with the riders ahead, the group took a path which turned out to be a mistaken one, and thus the rider concedes time to his closest rivals. Barreda finished in 17th place some 44 minutes off the winner of the special. In doing so, the Spaniard drops back into second overall place behind Marc Coma.

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Tucuman, Argentina
– The never-give-up attitude of American’s Robby Gordon and Co-Driver Kellon Walch, along with the entire SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires team, was rewarded today with a near flawless Stage. It resulted in the first podium finish of the 2014 Dakar Rally and a hard-fought third- place finish, 20 minutes and 12 seconds behind Stage-winner Nani Roma of Spain.

The Rally continued in Argentina Thursday, taking competitors from Chilecito to Tucumán. The originally scheduled 527-kilometer Special was shortened to 428 kilometers due to safety concerns. Gordon would use the shorted Stage to his advantage remaining in the third position through the finish at kilometer 428 giving the SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires team something to be proud of entering Stage 6.

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Fourth stage of the Rally Dakar 2014 and a tricky day for the TEAM HRC riders who fought hard to finish in favourable positions ahead of tomorrow’s stage. Above all for Joan Barreda, who was able to overcome some complicated setbacks to finish in sixth position, but retains the overall standings.

Joan Barreda continues at the head of the leader-board in the Rally Dakar 2014, albeit by a lesser margin after momentarily losing his way and conceding several minutes to his rivals before getting back onto the right route. The Spanish rider from Castellón continues to shine on the Honda CRF450 RALLY, registering another fine performance from the outset, that saw him crossing the Chilecito finish-line sixth on the day.

KTM-Logo-2-14-12Red Bull KTM Factory riders Chaleco Lopez of Chile and Spain’s Marc Coma had a good day out in Stage 4 of the Dakar 2014, finishing 2-3 in the stage. Coma has moved up to second overall and trails by only 3 minutes 10 and Lopez is in third overall, 5.12 behind the leader.

As predicted, the second half of the first marathon stage was a matter of survival as riders nursed their bikes home after no mechanical assistance and no fresh tires overnight.

Lopez had a great day, finishing only 29 seconds behind the stage winner, Joan Pedrero. Coma, who is bidding for his fourth Dakar title, trimmed the gap to overall leader, Barreda of Spain, to just 3 minutes 10 seconds.

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Chilecito, Argentina (January 8, 2014) – After one of the longest stages of the 2014 Dakar Rally, SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires driver Robby Gordon finished the fourth Stage with a solid fourteenth-place for the HST Gordini.

Competitors started the Stage on a 211-kilometer liaison, which led to a grueling 657-kilometer Special through the mountains and countryside of Argentina. To the benefit of competitors a neutral zone was designated in the middle portion of the Stage for cars to be serviced before finishing the final kilometers. Sitting in a comfortable sixth place just 9 minutes and 32 seconds back entering the neutral zone, Gordon and co-driver Kellon Walch knew they would need to finish the special without any problems to have a shot at capturing the team’s first top-five of 2014.

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The first of the 2014 Dakar Rally Marathon stages saw Yamaha Factory Racing’s Cyril Despres make up valuable time today with an impressive ride on his YZ450F machine to close the gap to the front. The five-time Dakar winner’s experience and race craft saw him make short work of the day’s timed riding, finishing in second position, 4m’41s behind the leader. The result moves him up the overall standings from eighth to second, now just 13m04s behind the current Rally leader. The special was reduced in distance at the last minute to 243km to avoid instable terrain at the start of the route.

As part of the marathon stage, the riders are unaided tonight in their own bivouac and are responsible for the maintenance of their own bikes before continuing tomorrow.