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.

More 2014 Dakar Rally Updates

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

Robby-Gordon-Stage-10-Dakar-1-16-14

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.

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.

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.

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.

Toyo-Tires-Logo-5-16-11CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – The annual Toyo Tires Dakar Rally Blog is back at ToyoTires.com/Dakar with exclusive pre-race features and soon, daily coverage of the world’s most grueling, most unpredictable race. Covering nearly 3,500 miles over 13 days of competition, racers never know what Dakar will throw at them. This year, drivers will journey through Argentina and Chile between January 5 and 18.

Embracing the theme Meet the Unexpected, Toyo Tires will provide exclusive, first-hand reports from the Dakar Rally while chasing Team Toyo® racers Robby Gordon and BJ Baldwin as well as accomplished French-American racer Guerlain Chicherit. Fans can also depend on the Toyo Tires Dakar Rally Blog for never-before-seen interviews, footage and photos. All three drivers will compete on race proven 37-inch Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires.

“Daily posts by Toyo Tires will capture the unexpected and take race fans inside the legendary Dakar Rally,” said Amy Coleman, senior director of marketing, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. “From pre-race interviews to real-time updates, our annual Dakar Rally blog will be loaded with content that keeps people coming back for more.”

Chilicito, Argentina: Following a navigation error yesterday, KTM factory rider Marc Coma rode with a passion in Stage Four to take his second stage victory in Dakar 2012 and claw back two minutes on overall leader and teammate Cyril Despres. Both riders are going for their fourth Dakar title.

Coma of Spain went off at sixth from San Juan but early registered his intention to be the one to beat by being fastest at the first Way Point of the day. Despres, first off in the morning to open the road after yesterday’s stage win was in third place just 15 seconds behind. Then came the day’s biggest climb when the two riders turned their KTM 450 Rally bikes and charged up the mountain that took them to their highest point so far in this, the 33rd edition of the world’s most famous rally. It was still Coma with the advantage at the end of the climb that took them up to 3200 m. Despres who later admitted he had taken particular caution to avoid any costly mistakes had slipped to sixth and was two minutes 49 behind.

Despres then went on the chase and had moved into second by Way Point three having halved the time deficit between him and the leader. The two KTM riders raced together for the rest of the day but it was Coma who crossed the line first to claim his second stage win in this edition. Despres finished just over two minutes later. The French rider is still ahead by 8 minutes 10 in the overall standings but Coma managed to make up a useful slice of the time he lost when he was forced to ride another 12 km following his navigational error in Stage Three. The stage is now set for a great battle now that the two KTM factory riders progressively distance themselves from the rest of the field.

After a strong finish on the first short special, Darren Skilton made the long liaison to Santa Rosa de la Pampa.  The second day of the Dakar Rally started with another long drive, including deep silt beds and square ledges… and that was just on the liaison!  When the 290 kilometer special stage started, initially Skilton was able to run his car wide open on the loose gravel roads.  “The V8 engine and X-Trac transmission allows me to reach speeds over 120 miles per hour in the right conditions,” Skilton shared.  Unfortunately the conditions deteriorated as the stage went on, culminating in the dreaded Nihuil dunes.  Fuel delivery issues in the scorching heat of the black sand brought the Revolution VI buggy to a halt on multiple occasions, giving up valuable time to the lead cars.  “We had to pour our water onto the fuel pump whenever the problem surfaced,” explained navigator Skyler Gambrell.

The team also lost a wheel off the vehicle late in the special stage, costing even more time.  Sounds bad?  The black volcanic sand dunes ended the aspirations of Carlos Sainz and Stéphane Peterhansel in 2009, when both rolled in this same area.  “I have driven the Dakar Rally enough to know not to get rattled this early in the race,” Skilton stated.  “Skyler and I were able to complete the stage without harming the car and I am confident my crew will have the fuel delivery problems sorted by morning.”  The third stage of the rally travels on fast gravel roads through the Argentine wine region of Mendoza on its way to San Juan, providing Skilton with another opportunity to uncork his Redline Performance engine.

Follow the latest action from the Dakar Rally at Baja Automotive’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Baja-Automotive-Adventures/298123813554060.

Darren Skilton would like to thank the following sponsors for their support: General Tire • King Off-Road Racing Shocks • Method Race Wheels • Baja Designs Lighting Solutions • Neo Synthetic Oil • Redline Performance
PCI Race Radios • Signpros Custom Lettering