COMA A CLOSE SECOND IN STAGE ONE OF SEALINE CROSS COUNTRY RALLY!
KTM factory rider and multi Dakar winner Marc Coma launched his bid for another victory in the Sealine Rally in Qatar on Monday, finishing just 1:02 minute behind leader and fellow Spaniard Joan Barreda.
Back in the desert sands after the season’s opening round of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge two weeks ago Marc Coma, always a wily tactician is perfectly placed for a good start in Tuesday’s Stage Two. He starts just behind Barreda, whose job it will be to open the track.
Marc Coma: "I'm happy, it has been a positive first step. The terrain is completely different to Abu Dhabi and I decided to take it a bit easy because I did not yet have the feeling for it here. The rally is long and it was important to start without making any mistakes."
Coma’s factory teammates Jordi Viladoms, Sam Sunderland and Ruben Faria finished third, seventh and eighth on the relatively short opening day and it was up to Sunderland and Faria to open the track because they are yet to score points in the 2014 world championship. Sunderland started in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge but had to retire. Faria of Portugal is competing in his first event of the 2014 series.
Stefan Huber (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team coordinator): “The first stage was only short but very difficult navigation with lots of parallel tracks to negotiate. It was up to Sam and Ruben to open the track on the first day and they lost a bit of time with the navigation. Marc did a good job today and all our riders are in good shape.”
Riders competed over a total distance of 230.86 km, 164.18 km of which was timed special. The stage started at the Losail racing circuit and ending at the Sealine bivouac.
The factory team riders are competing on the 2014 edition of the KTM 450 RALLY bike on which Coma won his fourth personal Dakar title in January, and secured KTM’s 13th Dakar victory.
Coma finished a very close second in the Desert Challenge, finishing five days of punishing desert riding with a deficit of just 20 seconds. He is a two time winner in Qatar but admits it is a very tough rally, but one that he likes.
“The key to a good rally in Qatar is to not make any mistakes because the navigation is complicated”, Coma said. “The terrain gives the impression of being easy but it is not. It is important to be mentally prepared and to have a good strategy.”
On Tuesday riders face a longer stretch, a total of 484.96 km, with 396.46 km of timed special, a loop that takes them away and back into the bivouac.
Results Sealine Cross Country Rally, Leg One
Round 2 of the FIM World Cross Country Rallies World Championship
1. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 1:42.31 h
2. Marc Coma (ESP), KTM, +1:02 min
3. Jordi Viladoms (ESP), KTM, +5:04
4. Mohammed Balooshi (UAE), KTM, +7:03
5. Helder Rodrigues (POR), Honda, +9:24
7. Sam Sunderland (GBR), KTM, +17:03
8. Ruben Faria (POR), KTM, +19:12