Dakar Day 2: Coma To The Top

Cycle News Staff | January 2, 2012

It only took two stages for defending Dakar Rally Champion Marc Coma to take the overall lead in this year’s edition, the Red Bull KTM/MRW rider winning today’s stage from Santa Rosa de la Pampa to San Rafael in Argentina -made up of 301 miles of liaison sectors and 183 miles of special stage racing – to take over at the top of the standings from yesterday’s winner Francisco Lopez.

Coma, who started today’s stage 14 seconds behind Lopez and his Aprilia, won stage two by a minute and 18 seconds over his factory KTM teammate Cyril Despres, the Frenchman bouncing back from his 13th-place finish in yesterday’s stage. Despres is now third overall – two minutes and 52 seconds behind Coma.

Lopez, who was fourth in today’s stage, is second overall – two minutes and 30 seconds behind Coma.

Fourth overall is being held by Orlen KTM’s Jakub Przygonski, the Polish rider who worked as a journalist in last year’s race after injuring himself prior to the start while training. In 2010, Przygonski finished eighth in the rally. He trails Coma by 4:52 in the overall standings after finishing fifth in today’s stage.

Husqvarna Rallye Team By Speedbrain’s Joan Barreda Bort is currently fifth overall after finishing third in today’s stage.

American Quinn Cody’s Dakar Rally, meanwhile, took a major hit today as he had a problem during the special stage with roughly 43 miles to go. Cody got his JCR Honda going again, but lost a lot of time to the leaders. He made it to the finish line in 24th place, but lost almost 29 minutes to Coma. He is now 20th overall after finishing fourth in yesterday’s opening stage. Jonah Street also ran into problems and his may be terminal as he wasn’t able to get his Yamaha running at the 234km mark.

“The start of the special was very fast today,” Coma said. “Chaleco [Lopez] and me were riding at top speed and let me tell you, the Aprilia is very, very quick. After that, we arrived at the second part of the special with sand and dunes. It was a lot more technical, with some navigation to do as well. I took the lead and kept riding at a good pace. I’m happy because I didn’t get lost. So, it’s been a good day for me!”

There are currently five different brands of motorcycles in the top 10 – KTM, Aprilia, Husqvarna, Yamaha and Honda.