Maybe, just maybe, Marc Coma will start to take it easy when he builds his overall lead in this year’s Dakar Rally to over an hour. But we doubt it.
Coma rode his Red Bull KTM to his second stage win in today’s stage 11, besting long-time rival Cyril Despres by two minutes and 51 seconds after 217 miles of racing led to another 75 miles of sand dunes in Copiapo.
Despres ended up second on the factory Yamaha, beating his teammate Olivier Pain to the finish by some two and a half minutes. Jordi Viladons, meanwhile, ended up fourth with Coma’s biggest challenger in the overall standings, Joan Barreda, ending up fifth.
Barreda crashed his factory Honda early on and damaged his navigation equipment, forcing him to ride “blind” for most of the stage. Finishing over eight minutes behind Coma didn’t help his cause in the overall standings and he now trails his fellow Spaniard by 52 minutes and 36 seconds after 11 stages.
Viladoms is second overall, some 14 minutes ahead of Pain in the battle for the final podium spot. Helder Rodrigues is another nine minutes behind and just a minute or so ahead of Despres.