HRC’s Javier Pizzolito won yesterday’s third stage of the Desafio Ruta 40 rally in Argentina, marking the first time the Argentian rider has won a stage of a World Championship rally.

“I am so happy to win today,” Pizzolito said. “It’s my first World Championship stage victory so it means a lot to me and I’m really pleased to continue the team’s winning streak after [Helder] Rodrigues’s performance yesterday. I felt in control throughout the stage and even though I had a small crash, I was still able to win, so perhaps without that the margin would have been even greater.”

The stage win also put Pizzolito atop the overall standings.

The KTM team didn’t have a good day yesterday with its star rider Marc Coma running out of gas.

Coma was less than two miles from the fuel stop when his KTM ran dry. Fortunately for the multi-time Dakar Rally winner his teammate Kurt Caselli was able to stop and give him enough gas to get him to the stop. The delay cost both riders and Caselli finished the stage in sixth with Coma coming in eighth.

“I had a problem with the fuel pressure that has forced me to stop at the 300 km mark of the special. Luckily, Kurt [Caselli] came along and with his help I was able to finish the stage, but at a much lower rate. It was a shame because I was going well and hoped to be able to make up the difference. I passed Hélder [Rodrigues] in the first few kilometers. I made some navigation errors but the truth is, it was fine, despite the difficulty of the stage.”

Coma said it will be an uphill struggle to try to win the rally.

“You can’t win a rally like this if you give away time like we did today, but I will keep on fighting. The mechanics are already working to analyze the problem and will fix it for tomorrow."

Meanwhile, his teammate Chaleco Lopez is just four minutes off Pizzolito’s overall time; Caselli is overall fifth and trails by 11 minutes and 23 seconds and Coma is seventh with a deficit of just under 15 minutes.

Stage Four today takes competitors from Belin to Chilecito a total distance of 586.73 km, including a 192.32 timed special.

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By Cycle News Staff

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