Dakar: Stage victory for KTM Marc Coma, Despres further extends overall lead


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KTM supported rider Marc Coma signaled his never say die spirit on Day Six of the 2010 Dakar by taking another stage victory and vaulting up to fourth in the overall standings. Coma’s stage victory was also indicative of his superb navigational skills.
Second across the line in Stage Six was KTM’s Cyril Despres, who, wishing to preserve his advantage in the overall standings, rode a steady tactical race. Despres now has an advantage of 42’15” at the end of challenging day where riders traveled inland from Antofagasta in a wide sweeping curve and down to finish with a steep ride in soft sand at the Iquique bivouac on the Chilean coastline.

Positive day for Marc Coma
Coma, who on Wednesday said he would be taking the rest of the rally “one day at a time” sent a strong signal to the other riders that he is not done with the challenging terrain of Argentina and Chile just yet. The 2009 Dakar winner took the lead at the 153 km mark and was the dominant rider for the rest of the day.

Coma tests his navigation skills
Speaking to rally organizers, Coma commented: “On km 29 there was a hidden way point. A lot of riders took it on the right, but with the dust and having left after the others, I really had a hard time. I kept a good pace. It was a very hard day actually. I think I must have passed quite a number of riders but there was so much dust… it was tricky. I am happy to have reached the finish without problems. I said I now wanted to win the day-to-day race after all the trouble I had and enjoy the race. Then we’ll see. Each day I’ll start the stage motivated.”

Dakar 2010 over for Manca
Meanwhile it was the end of the road for the man who made a huge sporting gesture yesterday by offering his wheel to Coma when he ran into tire trouble, Italian KTM rider Luca Manca took a serious fall 10 km into the special and was immediately evacuated to the Calama hospital. Manca was in ninth overall at the end of Wednesday’s stage.

Stage Seven to be long and tiring
Day Eight, where riders return to Antofagasta from Iquique in an extended ride that includes an exhausting 600km special will again confront them with a mix of tough desert riding and very fast and mixed terrain. It will be an exhausting day in this 9000 km ride and they will be looking forward to their rest day on Saturday as the Dakar 2010 enters the second half of the race.  

Stage Six Results
1. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM
2. Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM (at 10’34”)
3. .Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha
4. Francisco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia
5. Pal Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM  

Overall after Stage Six
1. Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM
2. Francisco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia (at 42’15”)
3. .Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha
4.  Marc Coma, Spain, KTM
5. Pal Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM