If Marc Coma’s rivals were hoping to claw back some of the ground they’d lost to him in yesterday’s fifth stage of the Dakar Rally, they didn’t do so today. Well, one of them did – but a minute and 15 seconds isn’t going to cut it at this point.
Today’s stage was won by Alain Duclos, the Sherco rider leading the majority of the stage that ran from Tucuman to Salta in Argentina – a 288-mile stage that featured 248 miles of special stage and a 40-mile liaison run. Although Duclos won, he did so by only a minute and 15 seconds over Coma, the factory Red Bull KTM rider controlling the race at this point as he leads in the overall standings by 42 minutes and 17 seconds.
The win was Duclos’ second in the Dakar and it comes eight years after his first. It also comes on a day marred by the death of Belgian rider Eric Palante.
Honda’s Joan Barreda, the man who trails Coma in the overall standings, didn’t make an impact on his countryman’s lead as he was over a minute and 10 seconds behind.
Defending Dakar champion Cyril Despres finished fifth in today’s stage and he now sits 11th in the overall standings – two hours and 24 minutes behind his rival Coma. Despres was penalized an hour in yesterday’s stage for a fueling violation.
One rider who ruined his chances today was Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez, the KTM riding crashing out of the stage at the 122-mile mark.