KTM's Marc Coma won his first stage of this year's Dakar Rally today in the shortened 99-mile test that took the rally from Fiambala in Argentina and down the Andes to Copiapo in Chile, the defending race champion beating Sherco's David Casteu by two minutes and four seconds.

Third place in today's stage went to Red Bull KTM's Cyril Despres, the Frenchman finishing three minutes and 14 seconds behind Coma. Despres, however, still holds an eight minute, 53 second lead over Casteu.

Aprilia's Francisco Lopez Contardo had his best stage of the race thus far in stage four, the Chilean finishing fourth on the day and moving to seventh in the overall standings.

Fifth place in today's stage went to Paulo Goncalves, the BMW-mounted rider ending up almost seven minutes behind Coma.

"We got our good habits back and we got back on the right track," said Coma, who is now sixth overall - 38 minutes and 50 seconds behind Despres. "I am very happy to be here. It's good for the moral of the team after a few bad days. The strategy is something you do each day. We will make the most of the race, climb in the standings, and move forward... till the end. We won't let our guard down."

American Jonas Street finished 15th in today's stage and now sits eighth overall.

With several riders arriving late to the finish in yesterday's stage, organizers opted to delay today's start and shorten today's stage from 125 miles to 99 miles.

Dakar Rally News


By Cycle News Staff

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