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

KTM-Coma-Dakar-1-10-14Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma rode another competent stage in the 2014 edition of the Dakar Rally on Friday to complete the first half of this grueling race with a 42.17-minute lead in the overall standings. Coma was second in Stage Six, just one minute 15 behind leader Alain Duclos of France.

Coma, a three times Dakar winner, said later he was content with the stage, which had not been easy. “It is true that we did not have the same extreme conditions of the previous days. This allowed us to tackle the stage in a less demanding way. But in any case, it was still a special 400 km with some navigation and 15 km of extreme enduro, which complicated things quite a lot.”

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.

Villadoms-KTM-Dakar-12-16-13KTM Racing has announced that Spanish rider Jordi Villadoms will join the Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team for the Dakar 2014. Villadoms, a late entry to the KTM lineup, will be the support rider for three-times Dakar winner Marc Coma.

Villadoms is an experienced Dakar competitor who rode for KTM from 2006 to 2010, although his best individual result came in 2012 when he finished fourth overall.

The 33-year-old rally racer joins the team followed by the tragic death of Kurt Caselli last month, who was a career KTM rider. While the team tries to come to terms with the loss of a valued and talented colleague and friend, Team Manager Alex Doringer said he was now seeking to consolidate and provide stability during the Dakar.

Red Bull KTM factory rider Cyril Despres on Sunday rode into Lima in triumph to seal his fourth career Dakar title and to present KTM with its eleventh consecutive win in this, the toughest event on the annual motorsports calendar.

His KTM teammate Marc Coma finished second overall in what was one of the most epic two-way battles in the rally’s history.

KTM has now won the motorcycle division of the Dakar rally every year since 2001, with the exception of 2008 when it was canceled because of security threats. In the 2012 edition, eight of the top 10 finishers and 15 of the top 20 rode KTM machines underlining the dominance of the Austrian brand’s sports bikes.

The race was a personal triumph for French-born Despres who first won in 2005 and repeated the victory in 2007, 2010 and again in 2012. His KTM factory teammate Marc Coma, who won the rally in 2006, 2009 and 2011 finished second after one of the Dakar’s most historic and closely fought battles. Both riders set the scene for a two-way competition right from the first stage and remained minutes apart until the penultimate stage on Saturday. Coma won five stages in the 2012 edition and Despres four but it was the turn of the Frenchman to ride in triumph into Lima.

Cyril Despres went into Stage 11 of the Dakar Rally on Thursday with the slimmest of overall margins just 21 seconds ahead of KTM factory teammate Marc Coma. At the end of the 534 km timed split section, Despres was first across the line and had extended his lead to 2 minutes 22 over his rival.

Given that the race is around 9000 km and there are still three stages to the finish, the competition is still wide open.

The two KTM riders, who are more than an hour in front of third-placed Helder Rodrigues of Portugal, are both aware that the slightest mistake can cost them their fourth title in the world’s toughest rally.  They have also now both won four stages each in this edition. Other KTM riders in the forefront of the action in today’s stage were Gerard Farres Guell of Spain who was just 1 minute 39 behind Despres in second place and Johnny Aubert, KTM Enduro factory rider, competing in his first Dakar Rally on a series model KTM 450 Rally Replica bike. Farres led the bikes for much of the day and Aubert had his best ever day so far finishing fourth in the stage.

So with the two lead riders so evenly matched, from the same team and riding the same factory bikes it is now largely a matter of tactics. Coma and Despres finished 2-3 in yesterday’s stage so Coma went out first. Despres shadowed his opponent all day and only went into the lead in the last part of the ride. It was the Frenchman’s thirtieth Dakar stage victory.

Despres said today was all about attacking. ”In the beginning there had been a modification to the road book and the tracks weren’t very visible. I rode 100 meters too far but then I saw Marc was turning round, even though he started two minutes in front of me. The day was a tough one and started with pushing the bike through a stream. It could be an important development to have someone between Marc and me. With Farres at second it’s not good for me. Tomorrow will be complicated, but anything can happen on the Dakar.”

That is exactly what will happen tomorrow on the second of four stages in Peru. Despres will have to open the road as the first out of the start gate, then Farres Guell, a friend and Spanish colleague of Coma’s will go off two minutes later setting up a possibility for the title holder to quickly gain on Despres. Coma will also be assisted by Aubert who moves up to be his support rider after his water carrier Joan Pedrero was forced to withdraw after Stage 10.