Red Bull KTM's Marc Coma won his second stage of this year's Dakar Rally and the 10th of his Dakar career today in a 105-mile timed run from Copiapo to La Serena.
Coma beat fellow KTM man Cyril Despres by just four seconds in today's ninth stage with Aprilia's Francisco Lopez Contardo a further minute and 14 seconds behind. Another consistent day on the course for Despres means that he now leads Pal anders Ullevalseter by almost an hour and 22 minutes. KTM-mounted Ullevalseter was fourth in today's stage.
"Everyone played their part, but I hung back a bit right at the start," Despres said. "We kept swapping the lead over the first 70 kilometers. First it was Marc Coma. Then it was me. We must have overtaken each other around 15 times. There were two possible routes at the finish line. We each took a different one and finished at almost the same time. Neither of us wanted to give anything away and its proof that as riders we are very closely matched. In rally raids, there are very few final sprints, but today, it was a matter of honor."
Lopez Contardo is third overall and some three minutes behind Ullevalseter and some three minutes ahead of Yamaha's Helder Rodrigues.
Coma is 17th overall after being penalized a total of six hours and 22 minutes in this year's Dakar.
American Jonah Street is seventh overall after finishing 13th in today's stage.