Marc Coma took advantage of Cyril Despres’ electronic issues in Stage 3 and won his first special of the 2011 Dakar Rally.
On the third day of the 2011 Dakar Rally Spaniard Marc Coma took his first stage victory, beating fellow KTM rider Cyril Despres. Down by 2:35 at the end of Day 2, Coma rode strongly in the trek from San Miguel de Tucuman to San Salvador de Jujuy to finish 02:21 ahead of his rival Meanwhile Despres still maintains the overall rally lead but got off to a slow start on Day 3 when he trailed early stage leader, Yamaha‘s Jonah Street, by 6:25 prior to the first checkpoint. However, Despres made a terrific comeback throughout the day’s competition to finish second and lose only a minute and a half from his overall lead. Portugal’s Paulo Goncalves led during the first checkpoint but would gradually slow to take third at the end of Day 3.
The third leg of the journey featured a special which was broken into two smaller parts with a neutralized section in between. Terrain varied widely throughout the day with the first timed special taking place through desert canyons and red sand cliffs. Heading into the first neutralized section KTM‘s Coma established 3:09 advantage over his rival, but Despres was making up significant ground on the field and fast approaching Coma. Throughout the neutralized section Coma led as Goncalves and France’s Olivier Pain remained closely behind.
Despite his loss to Coma on Day 3, Despres still maintains the advantage in the overall rally by just 14 seconds.
Despres would continue to gain time on his competitors and in the final half of the third stage the Frenchman squeezed into second just 2:33 behind Coma. Continuing to push himself in the final 100 km of the day, Despres finished second in the stage and retained the overall lead in the rally, though only by 14 seconds. BMW‘s Goncalves earned a small victory of his own after overcoming issues with his Iritrack communication device to finish less than a minute ahead of Pain and 3:36 from Coma in the lead.
America rider Street got things off well during the first 40 km of Day 3, but by the first checkpoint the American was overtaken by Goncalves. Street finished the third stage in 11th, nearly 13 minutes off the pace of Despres, and dropped back to 10th in the overall rankings. Quinn Cody (Honda) placed 14th on Day 3 and remains 13th in the standings trailing Despres by 28:33.
Marc Coma (ESP – KTM) 1st, 2nd OA
“That was a really authentic Dakar day: the first part with lots of navigation, then more riding on the rest. I’m happy with where I am. I took advantage of a little navigation mistake by Cyril Despres. Of course it’s important to win a special, but my aim is to win the rally.”
Cyril Despres (FRA – KTM) 2nd, 1st OA
“Marc Coma caught up with me very quickly. There were a lot of riders at the start of the special. I was very careful during the first 10 kilometres and then after 11 km I got it completely wrong. I didn’t lose two hours, but several precious minutes. In the end, I limited the damage, because I finished 20 seconds behind Marc. He must have gain 2 minutes 20 seconds on me. It’s not huge amount of time, but I would’ve liked to have kept it for myself.”
Olivier Pain (FRA – Yamaha) 4th, 6th OA
“During the first part, it was ok. In all, I enjoyed myself, even if I had problems with my road-book scroller. I had to ride all the stage scrolling by hand. The switch wasn’t working. In the second part, the paper started to tear, so I had to stop twice and sort it out before continuing. Apart from that, the bike is working really well and I feel very good on it. I’m not too far from the leaders, so it’s great for my aims for the end of the rally.”
Francisco Lopez (CHL – Aprilia) 13th, 7th OA
“I started at a good pace, but then I had a problem with the fuel intake. I had to stop, repair and lost around ten minutes. After that, I rode at a gentler pace. I knew it would be a difficult day, but I’m still here. I hope that things will change once we get to Chile and I’m at home.”
2011 Dakar Rally Stage 3 Results:
1. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 04:18:55
2. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM) 04:21:16
3. Paulo Goncalves, PRT (BMW) 04:22:31
4. Olivier Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 04:23:29
Ruben Faria of Portugal took fifth during Stage 3 after being more than five minutes adrift of Coma. He is currently third in the overall standings.
5. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 04:24:41
6. Filho Rodrigues, BRA (BMW) 04:25:57
7. Jordi Viladoms, ESP (Yamaha) 04:27:17
8. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Yamaha) 04:28:13
9. David Casteu, FRA (Sherco) 04:28:56
10. Juan Pedrero Garcia, ESP (KTM) 04:29:48
2011 Dakar Rally Overall Standings:
1. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM) 09:38:58
2. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) 09:39:12
3. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) 09:48:36
4. Paulo Goncalves, PRT (BMW) 09:49:41
5. Filho Rodrigues, BRA (BMW) 09:55:05
6. Olivier Pain, FRA (Yamaha) 09:55:19
7. Francisco Lopez Contardo, CHL (Aprilia) 09:57:19
8. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Yamaha) 09:58:19
9. Juan Pedrero Garcia, ESP (KTM) 09:58:20
10. Jonah Street, USA (Yamaha) 09:59:48
Video courtesy of Dakar.com.