Stage 12: Open Road for Coma

Dakar 2014

maddix park mx

On the last major sandy special on the Dakar 2014, Cyril Despres once again dominated and picked up his second special stage victory of the year, ahead of Marc Coma. The leader of the general standings is still in full control and all the more comfortable since his closest pursuer Joan Barreda experienced serious mechanical problems. 

Despres won again, Coma controlled and Barreda fell apart on 350 km against the clock which finished in the dunes of Copiapo, as part of a 699-km stage between El Salvador and La Serena served up for the competitors as the penultimate stage of the Dakar 2014. The day was won in the style of a past-master by Cyril Despres, claiming his second triumph in 2014 and his 33rd on the Dakar! Second to start this morning behind Marc Coma, the title holder quickly caught up with the Catalan and overtook him to open the way, followed by the current general standings leader, riding to protect his advantage at the end of the rally. Behind them, the day's big loser was Joan Barreda, second in the general standings on departure from El Salvador this morning. Following electrical problems on his Honda, the Catalan had to stop several times from the 265-km point onwards and crossed the finishing line on foot, 2:29'35 after Despres! His misfortunes smiled on Olivier Pain, the third quickest today, 5'57' behind the stage winner, but also Helder Rodrigues, fourth to finish, 7'21'' behind Despres, and Jordi Viladoms, fifth placed 9'10'' behind the day's fastest man.

In the general standings, Marc Coma, who received a fifteen minute time penalty yesterday evening after changing his engine, takes a decisive advantage for victory with a lead that now stands at 1:59'49'' over none other than his water carrier Jordi Viladoms. The second ranked Catalan will nevertheless have to be careful on the final stage, since he only has a lead of 10'27'' over the first Yamaha ridden by Olivier Pain, who is in turn a short 3'45'' in front of his team-leader, Cyril Despres, who could still finish on the podium in Valparaiso. 

In the quad race, despite yesterday's long stage and the soreness he was suffering in his hands and wrists, Ignacio Casale again demonstrated his supremacy by winning the day's special in front of one of the category's other leading lights, Dutchman Sebastian Husseini, who finished 5'05'' behind the young Chilean. In the general standings, the day before the last special, Casale reinforces his status as successor to Marcos Patronelli since Rafal Sonik lost twenty minutes to find himself in second position 1:23'42 behind Casale, whilst Husseini again lost time, but is still solidly installed on the third step of the provisional podium, more than 5 hours behind the general standings leader.

Rider Quotes:

Marc Coma Normally this stage is decisive

Cyril DespresI really enjoyed the day

It was a nice stage. Quite fast at the beginning, a lot of rocks also and then not that easy navigation on the last part. I'm pretty happy to navigate and I really enjoyed the day a lot, which is really important.

Jordi ViladomsTomorrow anything can still happen

You can never say it's over when there is still a special to be ridden. There are still a fair amount of kilometres to be covered… But it's obvious that I'm very happy with what I've done up until now. As for Joan [Barreda] I don't know where he is. I saw him repairing on the side of the tracks and I don't know if he will be able to finish in time… we'll see. For the moment, I'm third and tomorrow anything can still happen. In any case, I'm very happy with the work that all the team has put in. If we can improve on our position, then it's a bonus and so much the better!

Olivier Paindidn't want to give anything away

15 km from the finishing line, I was surprised by a bumpy part on a descent. In a bend, I can't have had perfect balance and I was thrown of the bike. I bent my handlebars and it made riding a bit complicated afterwards, which led to me falling again. I've hurt my inner thigh a little, but all in all, I'm still here and I haven't lost too much time to Cyril. It was a little mistake which won't have any consequences for the rest of the rally I hope. I didn't want to give anything away. It's a pity to be caught out by a moment's carelessness. The race can change quickly!

Joan Barreda BortAll is lost

I had electrical problems. The bike wasn't working well and the battery gave up. It was very difficult. I just had to try and get to the finish. All is lost. I'm going to finish the rally. And that's all.

Ignacio Casale:I'm going to wait for tomorrow to celebrate

Now there isn't much left before the finish. I'm very close to winning my first Dakar… but it's not over yet. I can celebrate once I've crossed the finishing line. So, yes, I could be happy tomorrow. But anything could happen. Let's not forget that this is the Dakar. Tomorrow, when you interview me, we'll know if I can celebrate victory. Up to today, everything that has happened has just been incredible. I'm really very happy.   Report from Byron Wilson

Factory Yamaha’s Cyril Despres topped the timesheet in Stage 12 of the 2014 Dakar Rally ahead of current overall leader Marc Coma of Red Bull Factory KTM. Despres’ teammate, Oliver Pain, finished the day in third.

Prior to the start of the day’s stage, Coma swapped engines in his KTM 450 Rally and incurred a 15-minute penalty though he still maintained a 37 minute lead over his closest challenger in the general rankings, Team HRC’s Joan Barreda.

Coma led the way off the start but lost the front in the early miles to Barreda’s teammate, Helder Rodrigues. It was a slim advantage, however, as Despres trailed by mere seconds and Coma was less than one minute behind in third. Honda’s Daniel Gouet, Samsung Sherco Rally Factory’s Juan Pedrero Garcia, Pain and KTM’s Jordi Viladoms were also within reach of top-three standing during the initial miles as well.

Once riders reached the second checkpoint, 55 miles into the day’s stage, Despres had moved ahead of Rodrigues while Coma held steady in third. Pain and Viladoms maintained fourth and fifth positions, respectively.

Rodrigues continued to slip down the ranks as the day continued. As riders neared the long dune portion that finished the stage, the Honda rider had dropped to third behind Despres and Pain.

Coma moved up the timesheet in the dunes leaving Pain and Rodrigues to battle for the number-three spot. Coma and Despres were on a tear during the final portion, but when nearing the finish line both riders realized they’d missed the final waypoint, so rather than incur the large penalty for such an infraction they decided to turn back. Despite the detour, Despres maintained the top time of the day with Coma in tow, a little over two minutes behind.

Rodrigues fell short of Pain in the final miles, finishing fourth followed by Viladoms in fifth and Gouet in sixth.

Barreda was nowhere to be seen inside the top-10. The Spaniard had a dismal day, stopping to repair a technical issue 164 miles into the 217-mile stage. Reports from the field indicated that he was having trouble with his steering head and having difficulty navigating the dunes. He was forced to stop 15 miles from the finish line to address the steering head issue again, and then only completed two more miles before having to stop a third time. In the end Barreda crossed the finish line over six hours after the start, dropping well outside reach of a top-three finish overall. For much of the rally he was one of the only riders within reasonable reach of Coma, who now leads the general rankings by almost two hours over Viladoms.

Pain sits third overall trailed by Despres, who jumped from sixth to fourth after Stage 12. The defending Dakar champion is less than four minutes behind his teammate and a top-three finish with two stages left until the end of the rally.

Honda rider Laia Sanz had a strong showing in Stage 12, placing her CRF450 Rally in 12th-place. She dropped down one position in the general classification though, and now sits 16th. The top American rider in the motorcycle class in Stage 12 was Mike Johnson in 58th. KTM’s David Casteu, who is currently riding with a broken collarbone, finished eighth for the stage and sits 10th overall.

Dakar Rally 2014 Stage 12: El Salvador – La Serena 
1. Cyril Despres, FRA (Yamaha) 3:58:18 
2. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 4:00:35 
3. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 4:04:11 
4. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Honda) 4:05:39 
5. Jordi Viladoms, ESP (KTM) 4:07:28 
6. Daniel Gouet, CHL (Honda) 4:08:10 
7. Jakub Przygonski, POL (KTM) 4:09:03 
8. David Casteu, FRA (KTM) 4:09:21 
9. Ivan Jakes, SVK (KTM) 4:10:22 
10. Javier Pizzolito, ARG (Honda) 4:11:07

Dakar Rally 2014 Overall Standings after Stage 12 
1. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 52:40:16 
2. Jordi Viladoms, ESP (KTM) 54:40:05 
3. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 54:50:32 
4. Cyril Despres, FRA (Yamaha) 54:54:17 
5. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Honda) 55:00:55 
6. Jakub Przygonski, POL (KTM) 55:17:39 
7. Joan Barreda, ESP (Honda) 55:45:10 
8. Daniel Gouet, CHL (Honda) 55:57:26 
9. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) 56:33:01 
10. David Casteu, FRA (KTM) 56:41:58
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