COMA BOUNCES BACK TO STAGE WIN AT RALLY DOS SERTÕES
Consummate rally professional KTM’s Marc Coma bounced back from a difficult marathon stage on Wednesday to take a spectacular stage win on Thursday and prove with three days still to go, there is still everything to play for in the Rally dos Sertões in Brazil.
On Wednesday Marc Coma was forced to take the cautious approach after discovering cracks in his wheel in the marathon stage where no mechanical help is permitted. He lost the overall lead, dropping to seventh but he put that behind him on Thursday and delivered a convincing victory in Stage Seven, the longest of this demanding rally. With three days to go on this 4110 km sweep through central Brazil, there is still plenty to play for.
Coma today was able to close the gap and climb from seventh to third place, 32:34 minutes behind the overall leader Paulo Gonçalves. Perhaps more importantly he closed the gap on traditional rival Cyril Despres to 15:25 minutes. Despres was sixth on the day to lose the lead to Goncalves.
Coma was 11th out of the start on Thursday in what proved to be the longest and most complicated of stages through semi desert areas and low scrub.
He set a good pace from the 150 km mark and made it stick to go on and win the stage.
But while Coma’s fortunes turned around on Thursday, those of his Polish teammate Kuba Przygonski’s did not. After moving up to third overall on Wednesday, the Polish KTM factory rider finished tenth and is now seventh in the general standings.
Coma has three days to chip away at the gap between him and Goncalves and two stages are long and complicated. Tomorrow riders go from Palmas and Minaçu over 666 km of demanding track of which 312 km is timed special. The Rally dos Sertões is also the fifth round of the World Cross Country Rally Championship and Coma is on his way to defending his title.
Marc Coma: "It was a good stage and we were able to make up positions. It was the toughest stage of the rally, with many competitive kilometers and with lots of sand, that always demands more in terms of riding. It was very difficult in the first part because there was a lot of dust. It was also difficult to overtake the many riders who were in front of me. But after I got in front of them I was more or less on my own and I was able to find my rhythm and set my own pace. It was important for us to complete it the way we did: without making mistakes and working well. There is still a lot of racing. We have three days, two of them very complicated, and everything is possible. "
Results Stage Seven Rally dos Sertões
From Palmas to Palmas total 746 km, timed special 514 km
1. Marc Coma (E), KTM, 5:56:11 hours
2. Paolo Goncalves (P), Speedbrain, 5:57:19
3. Dario Julio (BR), Honda, 6:10:07
4. Jean Azevedo (BR), Honda, 6:11:30
5. Ike Klaumann (BR), Honda, 6:16:19
10. Kuba Przygonski (PL), KTM, 6:44:57
Standings Rally dos Sertões after 7 of 10 stages
1. Goncalves, 21:37:39 hours
2. Despres, 21:54:48
3. Coma, 22:10:13
4. Dario, 22:19:04
5. Klaumann, 22:27:18
7. Przygonski, 22:42:11