MARC COMA WINS SEALINE RALLY OF QATAR
Marc Coma claims victory at the Sealine Cross-Country Rally of Qatar…
Coma won only one of the five stages, but the master tactician coped with the intense heat and remained focused for the complex navigation to record his second win in four weeks and extend his advantage in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship after two rounds.
“I am happy,” said Coma. “It was a tough race, one of the toughest we do in the World Championship. We had a high rhythm all rally and all the guys pushed very hard. It was a nice fight.
“We have started the season well, with the Dakar and Abu Dhabi and now Qatar. Here, especially, it is a victory for the KTM team. We have the same goal, but one KTM is winning and all the riders are working for that.”
Team HRC’s Joan Barreda and Paulo Gonçalves started the final stage separated by just 32 seconds and second overall swapped during the course of the last special.
But Barreda hit back over the closing kilometres to seal the stage win and ensure that he finished 4min 40sec behind Coma.
It’s been a good week with a fast pace all through the rally,” told Barreda. “I pushed really hard and I’m pleased. It was never an easy job, particularly the first day; we knew that it would be a complicated one.
“We were looking to change the strategy of the first day and we were just six seconds off winning the first stage. We been battling with Marc all week and in the end the difference has been minimal.”
Gonçalves was third overall…
“We never stopped fighting,” explained Goncalves referring to the new rules, which allow riders to select their starting positions out of the top six. “We have been able to win the last three stages and recuperate quite a lot. Barreda finished second and I came third.
“With the new rules it was impossible to win, but the most important thing is to finish on the podium. The bikes performed perfectly. We are pleased. Now it’s time to look forward to the next goal and do everything possible to achieve it.
Jordi Viladoms was fourth by one second from KTM team-mate Pablo Quintanilla.
KTM’s Sam Sunderland and Matthias Walkner finished sixth and seventh overall.