DESPRES DROPS TO SECOND OVERALL; COMA WITHDRAWS AFTER CRASH IN MOROCCO RALLY
KTM’s lead factory riders ran out of luck on Wednesday in Stage Three of the Morocco Rally with Despres dropping to overall second after finishing eleventh in the stage and Marc Coma crashing and having to withdraw with a dislocated shoulder.
Cyril Despres opened the track on Wednesday with Marc Coma close behind. But not far into the day’s 357 km ride between Erfoud and Zaragora, he crashed in an off-piste area covered in camel grass, hit a pile of sand with his rear wheel and was catapulted over the handlebars of his KTM 450 Rally bike. Portugal's Helder Rodrigues, who was following Coma stopped to assist him until Coma’s KTM factory teammate stayed with him until the arrival of the helicopter. He was moved to a hospital in Er Rachidia for x-rays and it was established he had dislocated but not fractured his shoulder. He is now on his way back to Spain and will undergo full medical checks in Barcelona tomorrow.
The accident also had repercussions for teammate Despres, who began to suspect something had happened to his teammate when he failed to see dust from the other bike. He then suffered a lapse of concentration and made several navigational errors, eventually finishing eleventh in the stage and sacrificing his significant lead built up over the first two days. He now trails Rodrigues by 11 minutes going into the fourth stage.
Rodrigues was second in the stage behind Portugal’s Paolo Goncalves and as is customary, organizers gave him back the time he spent with Coma waiting for medical assistance. Chaleco Lopez of Chile was the fastest KTM rider in the stage, finishing third 2 minutes 50 behind the leader.
Results Stage Three Morocco Rally
(Total distance 357 km, 291 km timed)
1. Paolo Goncalves (P), Husqvarna, 2:52,24 hours
2. Helder Rodrigues (P), Honda, +0:03 min
3. Chaleco Lopez (RCH), KTM, +2:50
4. Joan Barrera (E), Husqvarna, +5:28
5. David Casteu (F), Yamaha, +5:49
7. Alessandro Botturi (I), KTM, +8:06
11. Cyril Despres (F), KTM, +11:55
14. Darryl Curtis (RSA), KTM, +16:43
15. Riaan Van-Niekerk (RSA), KTM, +16:45
17. Juan Pedrero (E), KTM, +18:53
19. Henk Nuimann (NL), KTM, +21:44
20. Kuba Przgonski (PL), KTM, +21:44
Standings after Stage 3
1. Rodrigues, 9:29.42 hours
2. Despres, +11:01 min
3. Barreda, +16:21
4. Goncalves, +17:35
5. Lopez, +26:35
9. Pedrero, +44:09
12. Przgonski, +1:03.07 hours
14. Botturi, +1:15.39 (30 min penalty)
15. Curtis, +1:26.01
16. Van-Niekerk, +1:26.21