KTM’s Jordi Villadoms leads the Sardinia Rally after five stages, but there’s a good chance he’s going to be looking over his shoulder as Marc Coma now sits just two and a half minutes behind.
Coma, the three-time Dakar Rally winner, won stage five today under searing temperatures that ultimately led organizers to cancel tomorrow’s round six, which was slated to be a marathon of a stage and a key stage of the race. Promoters made the decision based on threats of forest fires on the Italian island.
Coma finished two minutes ahead of veteran French rally racer Stephane Peterhansel to move form third in the overall standings to a comfortable second.â€¨Coma has the chance of sealing the 2012 title in the third of this four-round championship after having won the opening two rallies (The UAE Desert challenge and the Sealine Rally in Qatar). This one, however, features different terrain and is much more akin to enduro racing than the shifting sands of the desert.
Coma is riding a KTM 450 EXC instead of the KTM 450 Rally bike and admitted he did experience some navigation problems in Monday’s stages, saying that his recent outing in the U.S. to contest the Baja 500 for KTM USA had been strength-sapping.
With two days left in the rally, KTMs are dominating with seven of the top 10 using the Austrian bikes, including two of Coma’s KTM factory teammates: Ruben Faria, third today, is currently sixth overall with Joan Pedrero, Coma’s support rider in the Dakar Rally, is 10th overall.
Riders will face a special section of now face one special of 112 miles tomorrow and will complete the rally on Thursday with stages of 50 miles and 25 miles to finish. The course has taken them on a sweeping loop of the picturesque Mediterranean island.