DESPRES MOVES INTO OVERALL LEAD AFTER STAGE 2 MOROCCO RALLY
From KTM – KTM’s factory riders Marc Coma and Cyril Despres continued to dominate in Stage Two of the Morocco Rally with Despres of France winning the stage and moving into the overall lead by a very slim 0.37 seconds from his teammate Coma.
The two riders, both multiple Dakar ally winners are using the final rally of the season to fine-tune their skills and KTM 450 Rally bikes ahead of the 2013 Dakar Rally that starts January 5 in South America.
The second stage took riders 359 km through the desert of which 315 km was timed and Despres, who finished third in Monday’s opening stage, crossed the line 1 minute 45 ahead of Spain’s Coma.
Honda rider Helder Rodrigues was third Tuesday and is also third in the overall standings while the three lead riders have now distanced themselves from the rest of the field by a handy eleven minutes. Joan Barreda of Spain was fourth in both the stage and now in the overall.
It will now be up to Despres to open the track on Wednesday but he will certainly have difficulty shaking off the determined Coma, who took the 2012 World Cross Country Rally title in Sardinia after winning the first three of the four round competition.
Coma remarked after the race that it had been a very long stage crossing the Erg Chebbi dunes. He had first overtaken Rodrigues and all three riders stuck together throughout the stage.
Another prominent KTM rider was Chaleco Lopez of Chile who was both sixth in the stage and overall while Juan Pedrero of Spain, KTM factory rider and ‘water carrier’ in the Dakar Rally to his KTM factory teammate Coma trailed the leader by 12 minute 17 in the stage and is seventh overall.
Also performing better were KTM’s two South African riders Riaan Van-Niekerk and Darryl Curtis who are also here to put in the navigation and desert experience ahead of the 2013 Dakar Rally. Riding close together for this important trial run, they finished 15-16 in the stage and have moved up to 16-17 in the order.
Riders face another 357 km on Wednesday but only 291 km of timed section.
From Husky – The second day of the Morocco rallye proved to be another sand-filled affair with a lot of navigation as the caravan rolled on through the treacherous dunes of Erg Chebbi. The Husqvarna Team by Speedbrain finished the day well with Joan Barreda in fourth place just a minute away from a podium place. Barreda who made a mistake some nine km (six miles) into the race and dropped back several places, was able to deal well with the situation and managed to pull back to within three minutes of the winner. Paulo Goncalves put in a good race to come in seventh, and Matt Fish made a good comeback in eighth. Barreda keeps a firm grip on the overall fourth place and Goncalves fifth. Tomorrow a 350 km stage (219 miles) with 290 km of special test awaits that will take the riders from Ergoud to Zagorà.
Results Stage Two
(Total distance 359 km, 44 km liaisons, times 315 km)