KTM’s Marc Coma bounced back from a difficult marathon stage in the Dos Sertoes Rally yesterday to take today’s stage win and move back into contention for the overall win with three days still left in the rally.
Yesterday, Coma was forced to take the cautious approach after discovering cracks in his wheel in the marathon stage where no mechanical help is permitted. He lost the overall lead, dropping to seventh but he put that behind him today and delivered a convincing victory in stage seven, the longest of this demanding rally. With three days to go on this 2542-mile rally through central Brazil, there is still plenty to play for.
Coma today was able to close the gap and climb from seventh overall to third - 32 minutes and 34 seconds behind the overall leader Paulo Gonçalves on the Speedbrain team. He also gained ground on his rival Cyril Despres to 15 minutes and 25 seconds when yesterday’s winner slipped to third and lost the overall lead.
Tomorrow riders go form Palmas and Minaçu (412 miles) with almost 200 miles of that a timed special stage.
"It was a good stage and we were able to make up positions,” Coma said. “It was the toughest stage of the rally, with many competitive kilometers and with lots of sand that always demands more in terms of riding. It was very difficult in the first part because there was a lot of dust. It was also difficult to overtake the many riders who were in front of me. But after I got in front of them I was more or less on my own and I was able to find my rhythm and set my own pace. It was important for us to complete it the way we did - without making mistakes and working well. There is still a lot of racing. We have three days, two of them very complicated, and everything is possible. "
Goncalves, the new overall leader, was pleased with his effort today.
"Today was hard and we got everything a rally is about,” Goncalves said. “A lot to navigate, technical sections and some wide-open roads. I am so happy I was able to take over the leading position. My Speedbrain 450 and the whole team – everything was perfect again. Now it is up to me to stay in front and to make no mistakes. There are still three long days ahead.”