Francisco Lopez took his first victory in the Cross Country World Championship series and gave Aprilia their first win aboard the RXV 4.5 bike.
“Now that I am here I am extremely happy,” said Lopez. “It is my first victory in a Cross Country Rally World Championship race, and I´m glad for each and every person that has contributed to this progress. I would like to dedicate this victory to my father, who I owe my entire career as a bike rider.”
KTM’s Marc Coma was able to overcome tough desert conditions to make an impressive comeback and finish second overall behind Francisco (Chaleco) Lopez.
Coma’s ride this week through 10 stages is proof why he is at the pinnacle of his sport. Suffering from a tire incident just 40 km from the finish line of stage two, he was left with a 28-minute deficit on Lopez. All the way back in eighth-place, Coma collected himself and began closing the enormous gap. In the process, Coma acquired three stage victories and one second-place.
In the third stage Coma had his first victory of what would become a major comeback. Coma went on to win his second consecutive stage victory by 13 seconds over the Chilean Chaleco Lopez in Stage 4 of the rally. In Stage 6 Coma had yet another win by expertly maneuvering through a strong sand storm.
Coming into the final stage on Friday Coma was looking at a 20-minute separation between himself and Lopez. Friday contained the last obstacle to be completed during the final stage: a 132 km special to the white erg of El Fouarto, and shortly afterwards riders had to maneuver their way through soft and hazardous white sand in order to finish the 2010 event.
Despite riding over extreme desert terrain for days and having a sand storm complicate matters, Coma was able to cut this gap in half and come to within 10 minutes of Lopez.
“Everything went very well. It was a very complete Rally, with many dunes and navigation, and weather conditions that made things very complicated over the last few days,” Coma told reporters.
Coma said he was pleased with his performance and with his last stage win which allowed him to collect much needed Championship points.
“We had another good race with a good pace and, despite the problems of the first few days, we fought to the end and did a very good job. Today was particularly tough because, although the special wasn’t very long, the sand storm made
Despite tire problems and a severe sand storm that made navigation difficult, Coma finished second overall in Tunisia.
it very difficult.”
KTM made a good showing at the rally with Jakub Przygonski of Poland navigating his KTM into third overall, followed by his teammate Jacek Czachor in fourth. Overall KTM riders took seven of the top-10 places in the standings.
1. Francisco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia 16:59:52
2. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 11:06
3. Jakub Przygonski, Poland, KTM at 22:29
4. Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM at 01:29:30
5. David Casteu, France, Sherco at 01:34:22