Dakar Rally – Stage 5: Coma Leads, Despres Penalized

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Stage five of the 2014 Dakar Rally saw  riders battling  some very inclement conditions. With temperatures soaring to well above 100 degrees and poor visibility due to last week’s rain, Stage Five  took its toll on all the riders as they covered the 912 km jaunt between Chilecito and Tucumán.

“It was another tough day and it was really hot out there,” explained Marc Coma. “To get to the end of the stage I rode for 10 km lost in a river bed.” Coma and his KTM 450 Rally rode to the stage lead with Jordi Viladoms taking second nearly 13 minutes behind Coma, while Kuba Pryzgonski finished third.

“It was a difficult stage physically, but mainly the navigation was difficult,” said Viladoms. “At the final of the stage, the river was very difficult and everyone was lost, but I am happy because I rode a good stage.”

While Viladoms took second in today’s stage, he still finds himself in fourth place overall, almost an hour behind Coma. The win today for Coma places him in the overall lead of the Dakar Rally, leaving Joan Barreda a somewhat safe 41 minutes behind him, with Chaleco Lopez occupying third, over 53 back.

Despite experiencing fuel system issues on Stage Five in 2013, as well as in this year’s rally raid, Barreda has still managed to place himself second overall. “I lost a lot of time trying to repair this problem but it’s okay because I am here at the finish and many of our rivals also had problems,” said Barreda about the issue.

After a disappointing setback on Stage Four, Cyril Despres did not have any better luck today, and incurred an hour penalty for missing a waypoint, and in the process nearly ran out of gas. Today’s result more than likely puts the Frenchman out of contention for this year’s Dakar win, and dashed his hopes of winning his sixth Dakar Rally this year.

“It was very hot in the special and the sand was soft. Because of that I was paying particular attention to engine temperature and even more so when I noticed I was consuming fuel at an alarming rate,” said Cyril Despres. “I was on my way to get the [infamous] WP17 but had to turn back when I realised I wouldn’t have enough fuel to make it to the end.”

“I was right on the limit of running out when I came across a quad rider who kindly gave me a litre and a half,” he added. “In all, my various problems cost me 44 minutes, to which will be added the one hour penalty.”

Top 10 from Stage 5: Chilecito to Tucumán
1. Marc Coma – (ESP) – KTM – 03:02:08
2. Jordi Viladoms – (ESP) – KTM – +00:12:54
3. Helder Rodrigues- (PRT) – Honda – +00:25:53
4. Riann Van Niekerk – (ZAF) -KTM – +00:32:04
5. Juan Carlos Salvatierra – (BOL) – Speedbrain – +00:33:12
6. Juan Pedrero Garcia – (ESP) – Sherco – +00:34:03
7. Robert Van Pelt – (NLD) – Honda – +00:37:04
8. Daniel Gouet – (CHL) – Honda – +00:37:53
9. Alain Duclos – (FRA) – Sherco – +00:39:28
10. Jeremias Israel Esquerre – (CHL) – Speedbrain – +00:40:07

2014 Dakar Rally Overall Standing after Stage 5:
1. Marc Coma – (ESP) – KTM – 18:45:11
2. Juan Barreda – (ESP) – Honda – +00:41:10
3. Francisco Lopez Contardo – (CHL) – KTM- +00:53:41
4. Jordi Viladoms – (ESP) – KTM – +00:58:58
5. Alain Duclos – (FRA) – Sherco – +01:02:13
6. Jeremias Israel Esquerre – (CHL) – Speedbrain – +01:23:30
7. Olivier Pain – (FRA) – Yamaha – +01:27:22
8. Kuba Przygonski – (POL) – KTM – +01:43:02
9. David Casteu – (FRA) – KTM – +01:52:41
10. Helder Rodrigues – (PRT) – Honda – +01:58:18

Source: Dakar; Photo: KTM