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Stage 5: Coma is Back

Dakar 2014

maddix park mx

www.dakar.com

Marc Coma, the three times winner of the event, put distance between himself and his rivals on the day's stage, which was partially shortened due to the extreme temperatures threatening the safety of the bikers.

Click here for a clip from stage 5.

After four days of racing, a good number of the favourites on the Dakar have already suffered for various reasons or even returned home in some cases. Marc Coma, however, chose the morning of the 5th stage to burst into action and strike a major blow against all his rivals, whether named Cyril Despres, already in difficulty the day before, or Joan Barreda, who ground to a halt on the route to Tucuman. After having overtaken “Chaleco” Lopez then Juan Pedrero, the winner of yesterday's stage, the KTM leader re-asserted his status by putting an impressive distance between himself and his pursuers. On completion of the first part of the special stage, a 211-km long section, the comeback king, who had to miss out on the Dakar 2013 due to an injured shoulder, avoided the many traps into which fell Paulo Gonçalves (who dropped out after his bike caught fire) or Cyril Despres (overheated engine, navigation errors, etc.). Since cohesion is a sacred concept for the Catalans, it was natural that his closest pursuer was none other than his water carrier, Jordi Viladoms, 13 minutes behind. A gap was opened on Despres, who finished 45 minutes later; on Barreda and Pain, who lost out in similar proportions; and on Lopez, who trailed in more than 50 minutes after.

The situation seemed to take a turn for the worst at the start of the second section to be covered, due to a leak spotted on the petrol tank of his KTM. However, when on form, Coma enjoys luck as well as his talent. A quick-fix repair carried out with Viladoms already put a small smile back on his face before, several minutes later, the news was announced that the second section of the special stage had been cancelled, meaning the times at the end of the first section stood for the stage results. In total, the day seems to be an excellent one for Coma, because he now only has three rivals positioned within less than an hour in the general standings, namely Joan Barreda, “Chaleco” and Jordi Viladoms, respectively 41'10'', 53'40'' and 58'58'' behind.

The quad category witnessed the same modification to the programme, but without seeing such a significant sea-change in the standings. Ignacio Casale retains the lead of the general standings, but his closest rival is now Sergio Lafuente, who added his third special stage victory to his roll of honour, overtaking Rafal Sonik to take the bottom step of the virtual podium.

Quotes

Coma: It was another tough day. It was really hot out there. It's also difficult in terms of navigation as well because of the rain last week which makes it difficult to see anything. To get to the end of the stage, I rode for 10 km lost in a river bed. In general, it's tough for everyone. For the race lead, you can lose lots of time at any moment. When you open the way, it's a bit like playing Russian roulette.

Barreda: I had problems with the fuel

A really, really hard stage. I had a problem on the first kilometres at the start with the fuel system. I lost about twenty minutes there, but after that I could start again and I got back some time. Finally, after some difficult navigation I arrived at the finish of the special behind Marc, but the problem was that I had to go back for a way point and I had problems with the fuel again. I lost a lot of time trying to repair this problem. It's ok because I'm here at the finish and many rivals also had problems. So the race continues and it's important that we try to do a good job on the next days.

Depres: It was really tough.

It was not an easy stage, really hot with soft sand and camel grass for seventy or eighty kilometres. It was really tough. Also the navigation was really complicated and I was looking for a way point which was not really great from my side of things. And then I ran out of fuel.

 
 
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