Husqvarna claimed its first victory of the 2012 Dakar Rally with Joan Barreda Bort taking the victory ahead of KTM favorites Cyril Despres and Marc Coma. The duo of Despres and Coma claimed third and second, respectively, with Coma closing the gap on his front-running rival to a mere 21 seconds.
The tenth stage of the 2012 Dakar saw riders face desert conditions, including more dunes. The 377-km route stretched through Northern Chile from Iquique to Arica. Despres, provisional winner of Stage 9 (later penalties were issued), started the day with a 2 minute 28 second lead.
Coma gave chase to his French rival, both riders splitting six of eight previous stages in their battle for their fourth Dakar victory. At about the halfway mark, however, the two riders made navigation errors. Bort took advantage of the mistake to record his first Dakar stage win.
Crossing the line, Bort finished 1:32 up on Coma. Despres’ third-place result saw his overall advantage on Coma dwindle to a mere 21 seconds. Finishing fourth on the day, Helder Rodrigues was five minutes behind the stage winner. The Portuguese rider is all alone in third-place overall, 45 minutes behind the leading duo. KTM riders Jordi Viladoms and Stefan Svitko placed fifth and sixth on the day, and are fourth and fifth in the overall standings.
Coma gained ground on Despres with his second-place finish in Stage 10 closing the overall advantage to 21 seconds.
Coma will look to close the overall advantage tomorrow, as teams bid farewell to Chile and cross the border into Peru.
Rider quotes courtesy of Dakar.com
Joan Barreda Bort (ESP – Husqvarna) 1st, 13th OA
“After the rear wheel problems I had on the 3rd day, I’ve been taking it day by day. On the last stages it has been better and yesterday, for example, I saw that I could go on the attack, so I went for it. On today’s stage, I had a problem with my foot. On a very quick bend, where I was at 120 kmph, I hit a stone with my foot and I thought that the impact had torn my leg off. When I arrived at the refuelling zone, I took some painkillers and it was ok until the end of the stage. I even sped up. We’ll see what’s happened to me. I thought I might have fractured my shin, but I don’t think I have. I don’t know how serious the injury is, but I think I should be ok and be able to finish in Lima.”
Marc Coma (ESP – KTM) 2nd, 2nd OA
“It’s the tone that’s been set for the rally and I think we’ll keep on battling until the end. We keep trying to make the difference all the time and the entry into Peru will be decisive. The race will hinge on the smallest of margins. When the performance level is equivalent with the same team and the same bike, it’s very difficult, both for him and for me. But when it comes to the crunch, it will be entirely to do with one rider or the other.”
Cyril Despres (FRA – KTM) 3rd, 1st OA
“It was all going well for me until the 225-km point and I’d managed to keep up a good pace. But I made a small navigation mistake and that’s when Marc overtook me. He was with Joan Barreda, who I’d like to congratulate on riding a superb stage. At this level, every second counts! It’s a scenario that I thought might happen, so I’m not surprised. I’m just happy to have got through another day. In any case, staying out in front for the whole 377 km whilst riding flat out isn’t easy. If I finish in his dust or him in mine, it doesn’t change that much.”
2012 Dakar Rally Stage 10 Results:
1. Joan Barreda, ESP (Husqvarna)
2. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) +1:32
Cyril Despres: “At this level, every second counts! It’s a scenario that I thought might happen, so I’m not surprised. I’m just happy to have got through another day.”
3. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM) +3:39
4. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Yamaha) +5:16
5. Jordi Viladoms, ESP (KTM) +8:48
6. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) +9:44
7. Pal Anders Ullevalseter, NOR (KTM) +10:34
8. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) +14:41
9. Frans Verhoeven, NLD (Sherco) +14:59
10. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) +15:30
2012 Dakar Rally Overall Standings:
1. Cyril Despres, FRA (KTM)
2. Marc Coma, ESP (KTM) +21
3. Helder Rodrigues, PRT (Yamaha) +45:56
4. Jordi Viladoms, ESP (KTM) +1:18:52
5. Stefan Svitko, SVK (KTM) +1:24:38
6. Gerard Farres Guell, ESP (KTM) +1:35:21
7. Pal Anders Ullevalseter, NOR (KTM) +1:56:22
8. Oliver Pain, FRA (Yamaha) +2:08:22
9. Alessandro Botturi, ITA (KTM) +2:15:51
10. Ruben Faria, PRT (KTM) +2:40:27