KTM’s Cyril Despres led the second day of competition in the Dakar Rally from start to finish ahead of rival Marc Coma.
France’s Cyril Despres earned the 25th stage victory of his career during the second day of competition at the2011 Dakar Rally. Continuing his impressive pace to end approximately two minutes ahead of the competition, Despres faced a 300 km special in the trek from Cordoba to San Miguel de Tucuman. His efforts resulted in another hard-fought victory ahead of KTM rival, Marc Coma, who placed second in the lineup. Rounding out the podium was Frenchman David Casteu aboard his Sherco. Casteu is currently running sixth overall and more than 10 minutes adrift of Despres after hiting a spectator and losing significant time on Day 1.
The second stage of the trip featured completely new ground which hasn’t been covered in past rally events. With a backdrop reminiscent of bush landscapes the bikes and quads were separated from cars and trucks along the route. The route also encountered a track which included numerous jumps, giving preference to riders with MX experience. Despres led the competition the entire way through on the second day, making it the third time in his career that he’s taken a victory while opening the road section.
In the overall rankings, Ruben Faria of Portugal dropped back to third place after ending Stage 2 in fifth. Meanwhile, Chile’s Francisco Lopez Contardo (Aprilia) is running 38 seconds off the pace of Faria after taking fourth on Day 2.
A terrific duel between Despres and Coma is starting to take shape early in the contest. Coma finished the special on Day 2 just 1:49 behind his rival, and will need to pick up the pace in the coming days to chip away at an overall time deficit of 2:35.
Marc Coma moved up to second in the overall rankings after finishing just 1:49 behind Despres on Day 2.
However, as years past have shown, it must be done legitimately. Coma saw his 2010 rally derailed by time penalties.
Jonah Street of USA remains 7:36 off the pace of the leader after finishing the second special in seventh. As a result the American has dropped to seventh in the overall rankings. Meanwhile fellow American Quinn Cody placed 13th for the second day in a row and is currently more than 15 minutes adrift of the leader.
Cyril Despres (FRA – KTM) 1st, 1st OA
“Today the track was full of bends and very skiddy, like a 300-km giant slalom with jumps, like skiing. I noticed at the refuelling point that I’d taken almost a minute less than Coma. I was feeling good, so I decided to attack a bit in the second part, though I was careful to look after my tires because I nearly wore them through today. The most important thing is to find a god pace and have the right feeling. For the moment, the riding demands a lot of concentration.”
Marc Coma (ESP – KTM) 2nd, 2nd OA
“It was a long stage, 300 km with lots of riding and virtually no navigation. I managed to get past Ruben Faria after losing a bit of time, so I tried to push on to make up time, but the main priority was to look after the tyres. Towards the end I slowed down a little to take it easy until the finishing line.”
David Casteu (FRA – Sherco) 3rd, 6th OA
“I asked for news about the spectator that I hit yesterday and he only has two broken ribs, so I’m very relieved, because it wasn’t a very easy evening to go through yesterday. Today, I was still thinking about it, but there were much less people on the tracks and I was able to attack a lot. I ended up in the dust of Rodrigues, Viladoms and Verhoeven. I even managed to overtake them, but it wasn’t easy. At one point, I was travelling at 163 kmph, which is not bad at all for a 450cc. The bike is working very well and I’m really enjoying riding it.”
Francisco Lopez (CHL – Aprilia) 4th, 4th OA
“I really had fun on this special. It was a stage that really suited my bike. Mind you, I suffered because of the dust quite a bit and it was difficult to catch up with the riders ahead. The race has really started for me now. It’s been a positive day.”
2011 Dakar Rally Stage 2 Results:
1. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM) 03:19:11
2. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 03:21:00
Ruben Faria of Portugal was overcome on Day 2 by Coma and is now more than six minutes adrift of Despres.
3. David Casteu, FRA (Sherco) 03:22:57
4. Francisco Lopez Contardo, CHL (Aprilia) 03:23:17
5. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 03:24:53
6. Olivier Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 03:25:55
7. Jonah Street, USA (Yamaha) 03:26:47
8. Paulo Goncalves, PRT (BMW) 03:26:50
9. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Yamaha) 03:27:07
10. Frans Verhoeven, BEL (BMW) 03:27:23
2011 Dakar Rally Overall Standings:
1. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM) 05:17:42
2. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 05:20:17
3. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 05:23:55
4. Francisco Lopez Contardo, CHL (Aprilia) 05:24:33
5. Paulo Goncalves, PRT (BMW) 05:27:10
6. David Casteu, FRA (Sherco) 05:27:43
7. Jonah Street, USA (Yamaha) 05:27:56
8. Juan Pedrero Garcia, ESP (KTM) 05:28:32
9. Jose Helio Rodrigues Filho, BRA (BMW) 05:29:08
10. Frans Verhoeven, BEL (BMW) 05:29:48