KTM factory rider Marc Coma continues his quest to be the first winner in the first Dakar Rally to be held in South America, consolidating his overall lead in the standings after stage nine, Monday, January 12.
Tricky navigation allowed those starting further down the field to catch the front runners - a situation that bought some relatively unknown names into the top 10. It was KTM rider Frans Verhoeven who won the stage after starting 33rd ahead of David Frétigné at three minutes and nine seconds, with local hero Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez third at 3:40. Coma, on the Repsol KTM, came home in fourth place trailing the leader by just 4:59, and factory teammate Cyril Despres, on the Red Bull KTM, was fifth at 6:03.
While stage winners come and go, the overall leaderboard remains remarkably static with Coma managing his lead. There was virtually no change in the order after the dunes of Copiapo this evening, with Frétigné second at one hour, four minutes and 38 seconds, and Despres third at 1:34:38.
"Today was a typical day of rally-raid, the sort you might find in Africa," leader Coma said. "In fact, it reminded me a lot of certain types of terrain in Morocco. Early on, we came quite close to the sea and there were tracks everywhere - and it wasn't easy to find the right one! Me, Chalico (Lopez) and Cyril (Despres) rode much of the day together, occasionally joined by Frétigné."
Provisional overall standings after stage nine:
1. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM
2. David Fretigne, France, Yamaha
3. Cyril Despres, France, KTM
4. Francisco Lopez, Chile, KTM
5. Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM
6. Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, KTM
7. David Casteu, France, KTM
8. Frans Verhofen, Netherlands, KTM
9. Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM
10. Henk Knuiman, Netherlands, KTM
47. Alain Duclos, France, KTM