MARC COMA BACK IN CHARGE OF ABU DHABI DESERT CHALLENGE ON LEG 3
KTM’s Marc Coma took a decisive step towards his sixth Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge title on Wednesday when he won the third leg by 8 minutes 47 seconds and reclaimed to overall lead.
Marc Coma powered home on his 450 Rally bike, the same KTM that took 1-2 in the 2012 Dakar Rally thanks to KTM’s factory duo Cyril Despres and Coma. KTM Factory teammate Ruben Faria of Portugal, who won Leg 2 yesterday was tenth today and is currently sixth in the overall standings.
Coma came from eleventh to snatch the lead once more and said it had been a tough day with plenty of challenges. "When you start from further back, you have to try and cut the distance with the best time possible. That's what we did. Tomorrow is another difficult day and I expect that we will lose a bit of our advantage, but I also hope that we have enough at the end of the day to continue to top the standings." He said today and tomorrow’s long stage – 522 km with a liaison of 107 km, a 318 km timed special in the middle then an additional 97 km at the end – were the most important of the rally.
It was also a good day for Polish KTM rider Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przgonski who finished fourth today and moved up to overall sixth on a day when the desert temperature was up to 39 degrees in the shade.
Riders tackle the Nissan leg on Thursday which pits them and their machines against the desert of the famed Weston Region, including a final section through the massive dunes of the Empty Quarter, south of the Liwa Oasis.
The 2012 edition is the 22nd of the Desert Challenge, the event that reopens the Rally Raid season after the pause that follows the Dakar Rally.
Results Stage 3
1. Marc Coma (E), KTM, 4 hours 49 minutes 51 seconds
2. Joan Barreda (E), Husqvarna
3. David Casteu (F), Yamaha
4. Jakub Przgonski (PL), KTM
5. Sean Gaugain (UAE), Honda
6. Jordi Villadoms (E), KTM
7. Matthew Fish (AUS), KTM
8. Alessandro Botturi (I), KTM
10. Ruben Faria (P), KTM
11. Gerard Farres (E), KTM
13. Paolo Ceci (I), KTM
17. Mohammed Balooshi (UAE), KTM
Overall Standings after Stage 3
1. Coma, 12 hours 47 minutes 17 seconds
2. Barreda, +8:27 min