Stage 11: Coma Reigns Supreme

Dakar 2014

maddix park mx

Click here for stage 11 highlights.

Despite a fall at the beginning of the stage, Marc Coma again demonstrated his status as boss of the Dakar 2014, by picking up his 3rd victory of the year on one of the longest specials of this 36th edition, further reinforcing his position at the top of the general standings. 

605 km against the clock were on the menu for the competitors on the eleventh stage of the Dakar 2014, which witnessed a new festival from Marc Coma. Fifth to start this morning, the leader of the general standings, though it brought him a fall during the first hour of the stage, attacked throughout the first part before finally tackling the dunes in the wake of Cyril Despres, who moved to opening the way from the very first minutes of the special stage. The two men finished the rest of the stage together and therefore it was only logical that the Catalan recorded the best time of the day, 2'51 ahead of Cyril Despres. Behind this duo, the third best time of the day went to an excellent Olivier Pain, involved in a feisty battle for the final step on the podium with Jordi Viladoms, who in the end only lost around thirty seconds to the French Yamaha rider.

As a result, in the general standings, Marc Coma increases his lead to 52'36 over Joan Barreda, who set off first this morning, but who fell after 250 km of the day's special, breaking all his navigation instruments, forcing him to finish the special stage just by the naked eye. Thanks to his third best time, Olivier Pain is now within 13'44”of the third step on the podium, which is still occupied by Jordi Viladoms. As for Cyril Despres, he continued his climb back up the general standings and now only trails fifth placed Helder Rodrigues by 43 seconds.

In the quad category the withdrawal of Sergio Lafuente today due to a broken engine after 272 km of the special allows Ignacio Casale to be assured, unless he suffers mechanical problems, of winning the title. Indeed, the Chilean, who won his 6th special stage victory on the Dakar today, 5'12” ahead of Victor Manuel Gallegos Lociz and 19'17” in front of Rafal Sonik, now boasts a lead in the general standings of 1:04'32'' over the Polish rider.

Rider Comments:

Marc Coma: There is still one tough day left

It was a very long day. I had a little fall at the start, but it wasn't serious. After that, I tried to maintain a good pace. The important thing is still being here in the race and also to be careful, because there is still one tough day left.

Olivier PainI don't want to finish in seventh place

The main thing today was to not lose too much time to Cyril or Helder, who are my main rivals. I also wanted to gain as much as possible on Jordi, to try and aim for 3rd place. A lot can still happen tomorrow. With a fairly small difference in time, you can end up on the podium… or in seventh place, and I don't want to finish in seventh place!

Cyril Despres: The Yamaha today worked really perfectly

Well it was just a long day, a really long day. We came across every type of terrain: Sand dunes, twisty, rocky track sections... It isn't possible to do it without a good physical condition and the Yamaha today worked really perfectly, but also to manage to make a good special like this you need good tyres. I'm just surprised at how we can get to the finish with just this kind of tyre. It's just impossible to understand.

Ignacio Casale (quad): Probably one of the hardest that I've ridden

Today's stage was very long and probably one of the hardest that I've ridden. It was really very long. My hands and wrists really hurt. We'll see what the doctors say and how I can approach the stage tomorrow which is the last long and tough one. The quad worked perfectly, but on the last 100 km my hands were really hurting. I slowed my pace to avoid any problems. I managed to finish okay and I'm happy with my day. It was tough today and I think a lot of competitors will be stuck out there for a while. For me, I'm getting closer to Valparaiso and I hope that everything will be okay.

Report from   Byron Wilson

Red Bull Factory KTM’s Marc Coma extended his overall lead in the 2014 Dakar Rally after winning Stage 11, a 375-mile ride from Antofagasta to El Salvador through the Atacama Desert. Defending Dakar champion Cyril Despres, of Factory Yamaha, finished second-fastest followed by his teammate, Oliver Pain, in third. Team HRC’s Joan Barreda holds steady to second in the overall rankings, but his fifth-place finish in Stage 11 brings his deficit on the leader to over 52 minutes.

Competitors started the day with an 89-mile connection to get to the start point of the special stage, and Barreda opened the road following his Stage 10 win. The Honda rider lost ground to Despres early on as the Yamaha ace pushed to the front of the pack. Coma made up ground as well following an early off, moving to second-place on the timesheet within the opening miles. The KTM rider and Despres swapped the lead position a handful of times in the run up to the first checkpoint.

Behind the frontrunners Coma’s teammate, Jordi Viladoms and Pain were in contention for a top-three spot, trying to get the edge on Barreda. Team HRC’s Helder Rodrigues was also in the mix, trying to protect his overall fifth-place ranking from Despres.

By the third checkpoint Barreda had lost ground on Coma and Despres, falling back to fifth. Viladoms had moved up to third with Pain in fourth. Barreda’s troubles came after a fall which damaged his navigation system, forcing him to depend on other riders to navigate the way.

"Today was one of the most important days with a lot of timed kilometers," explained Barreda. "I really tried, pushing hard from the beginning, but about 300 km into the race I had a heavy fall in the fesh-fesh zone and I broke the navigation system. I waited for Cyril [Despres] who was about six minutes behind and I stuck with him until the end of the special. I’m happy that we’ve got this difficult stage out of the way and we are a bit closer to the end."

Coma opened up more of a gap through the dunes at Copiapo, holding steady at nearly three minutes ahead of Despres. Viladoms and Despres were in a battle for second-position during the latter portion of the stage, but when the two crossed the line the Yamaha rider had gained the advantage. Pain outpaced Viladoms late in the stage as well, beating the Spanish rider by 25 seconds.

"To find the right rhythm is never easy," said Coma. "To find the compromise between going fast, but not taking risks, this is the most difficult. You have to feel comfortable on the bike and not ride crazy. This is important. It’s still a long way to go and tomorrow is a very difficult special. We have to be very focused.”

Rodrigues finished Stage 11 in sixth and now sits less than one minute ahead of Despres in the overall rankings. 

Honda rider Laia Sanz overcame a difficult Stage 10 to finish 15th in Stage 11, moving her back up the general rankings to 15th overall.

Dakar Rally 2014 Stage 11: Antofagasta to El Salvador Results 
1. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 6:36:08 
2. Cyril Despres, FRA (Yamaha) 6:38:59 
3. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 6:41:36 
4. Jordi Viladoms, ESP (KTM) 6:42:01 
5. Joan Barreda, ESP (Honda) 6:44:20 
6. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Honda) 6:45:31 
7. Juan Pedrero Garcia, ESP (Sherco) 6:45:58 
8. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) 6:49:33 
9. Jakub Przygonski, POL (KTM) 6:50:48 
10. Ivan Jakes, SVK (KTM) 6:50:55

Dakar Rally 2014 Overall Standings after Stage 11 
1. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 48:24:41 
2. Joan Barreda, ESP (Honda) 49:17:17 
3. Jordi Viladoms, ESP (KTM) 50:32:37 
4. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 50:46:21 
5. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Honda) 50:55:16 
6. Cyril Despres, FRA (Yamaha) 50:55:59 
7. Jakub Przygonski, POL (KTM) 51:08:36 
8. Daniel Gouet, CHL (Honda) 51:49:16 
9. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) 52:11:13 
10. David Casteu, FRA (KTM) 52:32:37

Bookmark and Share