COMA FIGHTS BACK TO WIN STAGE FIVE
Battling with Joan Barreda since the start in Buenos Aires, Marc Coma finally tasted victory on the Dakar 2015, regaining two minutes and 16 seconds on his countryman.
Barreda, far from panicking, is focusing on controlling his lead in the general standings.
Whilst he does not possess the experience of Marc Coma, Joan Barreda is without doubt just as smart. After having opened a further gap of two minutes on the KTM rider on Wednesday between Chilecito and Copiapo, the official Honda HRC rider had to open the way today, pursued by Coma.
“It was a very tough stage. There was fesh-fesh all the time and in the fesh-fesh you cannot see the stones and it is not comfortable to ride. You are always having to pay attention,” told Coma.
“It’s going to be very difficult to take time from Joan, but, you know, we have a lot of racing in front of us. There’s the second part of the rally and we’ll have two marathon stages. We will try like hell until the last day. We know that Joan is very fast and that he has a very high level, but we will try, for sure”.
This situation only lasted for thirty kilometres, since Barreda preferred to let his countryman lead the way and set the pace. This strategy paid off, because although he gave up slightly more than two minutes to his rival in the general standings, Barreda retains a considerable lead on arrival in Antofagasta.
However, it is not a gap that is likely to worry a Marc Coma savouring his first success of 2015 and intending to use the marathon stage to make the difference.
Behind this duel between the leading duo, Pablo Quintanilla is taking on a new dimension. For his third Dakar, after having dropped out twice, the Chilean put in another noteworthy performance in his home country by completing a second consecutive day as the third placed finisher.
“Well, today was a very tough stage and a long one,” said Quintanilla. “I felt very good but in the last kilometres I got a bit tired. I’m happy to be in Antofagasta in front of our public and in our land, so I hope we have a good race”.
These performances have helped him climb up to 4th in the general standings at a little more than eight minutes behind a solid-looking Paulo Gonçalves, on the look-out for the slightest mistake from the Coma/Barreda duo.
Slovakian Stefan Svitko can also be satisfied with his day, finishing 3’54” behind the winner, whilst Jordi Viladoms and Ruben Faria both lost plenty of time. The Yamaha clan is still a significant distance behind the best.
Making it safely through stage four, Llel is up to 69th overall with Si in 71st. Just one more stage seperates them from the much welcomed rest day.