Three-time Dakar winner Marc Coma is leading the inaugural Sealine Rally in Qatar, the Red Bull KTM rider finishing just eight seconds ahead of fellow Spaniard Joan Barreda and his Husqvarna in today’s stage.
Yamaha’s Helder Rodrigues is third with Coma’s KTM factory teammate Ruben Faria holding down fourth – five minutes and 48 seconds behind Coma.
The rally, round two of the World Cross Country Rally World Championships and a new addition to the 2012 schedule, is taking place in entirely new territory, making it a real level playing field for all riders.
The race began on Monday with a ceremonial start followed by a very fast and short special section where riders averaged some 55 mph. Coma finished third behind his two toughest rivals, Barreda and Rodrigues – the current World Champion. Today, however, the racers got down to some serious fast action at they tackled the first 204-mile loop through the most southern part of Qatar – the race featuring totally different terrain than what these same racers competed on in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge two weeks ago.