With one day to go in the inaugural Sealine Rally of Qatar KTM’s Marc Coma has extended his overall lead despite placing third on the event’s third stage. Husqvarna mounted Paulo Goncalves took the stage win ahead of Jordi Villadoms (KTM) with Coma third. The stage presented riders with 358km of tough desert riding with a small seven km liaison. It was the longest stage in the event.
Goncalves, who started the stage in fourth place, picked up one rider after another before catching up to Marc Coma. The Portuguese rider then passed his fellow countryman Helder Rodrigues on his way to the finish line. But it is Coma that continues to lead the overall standings in Qatar with a lead of 5 minutes 59 seconds.
Coma’s biggest rival for the top podium spot, Helder Rodrigues of Portugal, finished back at eighth position on the stage but still sits in second behind KTM’s factory rider in the overall classification.
Husqvarna’s Joan Barreda, who topped the event’s second stage, endured a difficult stage three in Qatar, dropping him down the overall classification. Pushing hard to win, the Spaniard suddenly had to avoid a civil car coming his way as he rounded a corner. Crashing down a stony embankment and heavily damaging his bike, the Spaniard was lucky to remained uninjured.
He arrived at the next fuelling stop with severely damaged controls and a broken navigation tower. The machine could be somewhat fixed, but the incident cost the rider over one-hour on the leaders. “It was a nasty moment and a close call,” explained Barreda. “Because of the national holiday there was a lot of public traffic. The crash was a shock and I’m lucky to be here standing. Until then all was going well.”
Husqvarna's Paulo Goncalves was the winner of stage three © Juan Lozano/Speedbrain
Marc Coma: “Today was a very difficult and long day. We were four and a half hours on the special stage and it was very stony and a lot of off-piste riding. I was leading at the 40 km mark so it was up to me to open the track and that is also difficult because you must really concentrate the whole time. But we did it with no problems and no mistakes and we have six minutes advantage going into the last stage tomorrow."
While almost six minutes is a good cushion of advantage for Coma, there is still plenty of racing to go as riders face a final stage of some 208km in the deserts of the Gulf State.
Should Coma be able to secure the victory it will be his second towards the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship title after having won at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge two weeks ago.
This year’s FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship comprises of four rounds with the Sealine Rally of Qatar followed by the Sardinia Rally on June 23-28 and the Pharaons Rally in Egypt on September 30-October 6.
Results, Qatar Rally, Stage Three
1, Paulo Goncalves, Portugal, Husqvarna, 4:22.51.0
2, Jordi Villadoms, Spain, KTM at 4.0
3, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 1.58
4, Jakub Przgonski, Poland, KTM at 2.06
5, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, KTM 3.07
Standings, Qatar Rally, after third stage
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, 11 hours 58.13
2, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, at 5.59
3, Jordi Villadoms, Spain, KTM, at 12.47
4, Jackob Przgonski, Poland, KTM, at 14.58
5, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM, at 19:45
Spain’s three-time Dakar winner Marc Coma and Portugal’s reigning FIM Cross-Country rallies World Champion Helder Rodrigues look set to battle it out for motorcycle class honours at the Sealine Cross-Country Rally, Qatar. Despite neither rider recording the fastest time on stage two of the Qatar event, the duo are separated by just over one-minute in the overall classification.
KTM’s three-time Dakar winner Marc Coma leads the second round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship ahead of countryman Joan Barreda (Husqvarna) having topped the opening desert stage of the inaugural Sealine Rally in Qatar. In doing so Coma holds a slender six-second lead in the overall classification of the six-day event.
The rally, the second of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship and new to the calendar for 2012, is proving to be a real level playing field for all riders due to it being a ‘new’ event. Launched with a ceremonial start on Monday it was followed by a short and very fast 4.2 km ‘super special’ on Tuesday where riders averaged speeds of around 90 kmh. Coma finished third behind countryman Joan Barreda and Portugal’s Helder Rodrigues, who is the defending World Champion. ??
Then on Wednesday riders got down to some seriously fast racing as they tackled the first 330.51 km loop stage through the most southern part of Qatar. They had to traverse dry lakes, gravel tracks, sandy terrain and small dunes before passing close to the sea and confronting a series of difficult dunes to finish the day’s ride.
The Sealine Rally is proving to be quite different terrain to that of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, round one of the Cross Country Rally World Championship held just two weeks ago. Competition starts early to avoid the extreme heat of the desert but the trails are fast and stony. Wind, fog and dust have also challenged the competitors.
Riders will have to be constantly on their guard as Coma predicted at the beginning of the rally, there will be absolutely no margin for error and no possibility of recovering lost time in such a short, compact race.
Results, Stage One
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, 3:47.54??
2, Joan Barreda, Spain, Husqvarna at 8 seconds
3, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 3.11
4, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM at 5.48
5, Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM at 6.17
Standings after Stage One
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, 3:50.41
2, Joan Barreda, Spain, at 6 seconds
3, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal at 3.10
4, Ruben Faria, Portugal, at 5.52
5, Jordi Viladoms, Spain at 6.23
The FIM has released the official entry list for the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which takes place from March 30 to April 6…
A total of 76 riders are entered into the championship’s opening event in the bike and quad classes with 54 competitors in the 450cc class and a further 10 in the over 450cc class. Portuguese Yamaha rider Helder Rodrigues will star with the number one on his bike with just about all of the world’s top rally racers entered.
Marc Coma (KTM), Jakub Przygonski (KTM), Ruben Faria (KTM), David Casteu (KTM), Jordi Villadoms (KTM), Joan Barreda (Husqvarna), Paulo Goncalves (Husqvarna), Gerrard Farres (KTM), Alessandro Botturi (KTM) and Sam Sunderland (Honda) are among those entered with Cyril Despres the most notable absentee.
Red Bull KTM’s Cyril Despres will miss the first race of the 2012 rally season – the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – due to a shoulder injury. The 2012 Dakar Rally winner fell while cross-country skiing at his home in Andorra last week and damaged ligaments in his shoulder.
Although hopeful that he won’t need surgery to repair the damage Cyril faces three weeks of physiotherapy, meaning he’ll miss the Abu Dhabi event.
“Unfortunately, while cross country skiing last week, I fell heavily on my right shoulder and damaged some ligaments,” explained Despres. “I got it checked out at Presport in Perpignan this week and I will go back again shortly. For now though no riding for three weeks, just lots of physiotherapy. The good news is that with the great medical back up I have, I should be able to make a full recovery without the need for an operation…”
Want to know what competing in and winning the Dakar rally means to KTM? Check out this video of 2012 Dakar winner Cyril Despres returning to Mattighofen to meet those that made his victory possible…
Francisco ‘Chaleco’ Lopez has become an official Bordone-Ferrari Racing Team rider. The agreement, signed by the rider and Renato Ferrari, General Manager of the Italian Team, marks the entry of the top Chilean racer in the Bordone-Ferrari Rally Racing Team programme, alongside to Alessandro Botturi, Paolo Ceci, Gerard Farres and Jordi Viladoms.
Francisco Lopez will be making his debut wearing the colours of the Bordone-Ferrari Rally Racing Team at the Qatar Sealine Cross-Country Rally, the second stage of the World Rally Championship scheduled from 15 to 21 April. Then during the remaining races of the 2012 World Championship and the Dakar Peru-Argentina-Chile 2013.
Francisco Lopez, born in Teno, a town in southwest Chile in the province of Curicò, is considered by many as being one of the top three rally riders, alongside Cyril Despres and Marc Coma. Having dominated the South American motocross scene for over a decade, from 1989 to 2000, Lopez moved to enduro and was the first Chilean rider to win a gold medal at the International Six Days Enduro, an accolade he achieved twice in France and in Brazil.
After his victorious participation in the Costa del Galo Rally in 2001, Francisco Lopez made his official move to rally in 2005, competing in the Patagonia-Atacama, which he won the following year. In 2006 Lopez finished second in both the Sardinia and Morocco rallies, as well as clinching the 450cc World Champion.
Since 2007 Lopez has competed in the Dakar, a rally in which he obtained his best result in 2010 with a third overall and a first in the up to 450cc category.
The dates, and the locations of the start and finish, of the 2013 Dakar have been announced by ASO in Paris. The race will start in Lima, Peru on January 5 and finish in Santiago, Chile on January 20, with the rest day in San Miguel Tucuman in Argentina. Registrations open on 15 May…
The 35th edition of the Dakar will also be the fifth to take place on the South American continent, which has hosted the event since 2009. From January 5th to the 20th 2013, competitors will follow a route between Lima in Peru and Santiago in Chile, with a rest day planned at San Miguel de Tucuman in Argentina. The desert will be on the programme from the first days of the rally, for the first time in its history.
Several weeks ago, the riders and drivers on the Dakar discovered the Peruvian version of the desert. Struck by its splendour, but also its technical demands, in this setting of sea and sand they experienced some highly intense riding before the finish in Lima.
For the 2013 edition of the Dakar, the Peruvian capital will play host to the start of the rally, with the promise of holding an exceptional challenge in store for those who take part.
At the end of the journey, the rally will finish for the first time in Santiago. Chile, which, in the Atacama, has been the theatre to most of the unpredictable developments during the last four editions of the event, will have the opportunity to celebrate the heroes of the Dakar in its capital city.
Over the thousands of kilometres that they will have to tackle, the competitors will distance themselves from the Pacific Ocean as the event is spiced up by a detour via Argentina. On the other side of the Andes Mountains, the variety of terrains will put all the competitors' capabilities to the test.
With a reworked spread of difficulties and a new perspective on the discovery of the continent's geography, the Dakar 2013 is emerging as the event for which both the elite and amateurs of the rally raid discipline prepare all year long. Registration will open for all the categories (bikes, quads, cars and trucks) on May 15.