Red Bull KTM factory rider and three-time Dakar winner Marc Coma won stage five today followed by his teammate Jordi Viladoms and KTM supported rider Kuba Przygonski allowing KTM to scoop the top three places.
Today´s stage five from Chilecito to Tucuman was characterized by hot temperatures, lots of sand and navigation in dry vegetation. Organizers decided to cancel the second part of the special for safety reasons and also because heavy thunderstorms threatened the area. The result proved to be highly controversial.
“Everything was running well but it was soft sand and very technical and when you’re on the camel grass it is tough,” says Coma. “At the end of the last part it was very difficult to find the finish line. I got to another river and had to cut back to find the correct one. But in the end it was good.”
Coma, who moved into second behind the leader Joan Barreda on Wednesday by just three minutes has now taken control of the overall lead after winning the stage more than 12 minutes in front of Viladoms. He leads the overall standings by 41:10 from Barreda.
Thursday’s stage saw some of the big names sacrifice a lot of time. Barreda, Cyril Despres and Coma’s teammate Chaleco Lopez lost 43, 45 and 51 minutes respectively after they and other riders took the wrong track after it had split from the main at around the 121-mile mark. Lopez, who was second on Wednesday, finished twenty-seventh in the stage but still hangs on to third overall. He now trails Coma by 53:41.
Paulo Goncalves´ bike became the victim of a fire accident. Dry grass branches collected in the engine protection and caught fire near the hot exhaust during the extreme riding conditions in the deep sand.
Provisional results Stage 5:
1. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) 03:02:08 hrs
2. Jordi Viladoms (ESP, KTM) +00:12:54
3. Jakub Przygonski (POL, KTM) +00:22:45
4. Helder Rodrigues (PRT, Honda) +00:25:53
5. Riaan van Niekerk (ZAF, KTM) +00:32:04
6. Juan Carlos Salvatierra (BOL, Speedbrain) +00:33:12
7. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP, Sherco) +00:34:03
8. Stefan Svitko (SVK, KTM) +00:36:38
9. Robert van Pelt (NLD, Honda) +00:37:04
10. Daniel Gouet (CHL, Honda) +00:37:53
Provisional overall standings:
1. Marc Coma (ESP, KTM) 18:45:11 hrs
2. Joan Barreda (ESP, Honda) +00:41:10
3. Francisco Lopez (CHL, KTM) +00:53:41
4. Jordi Viladoms (ESP, KTM) +00:58:58
5. Alain Duclos (FRA, Sherco) +01:02:13
6. Olivier Pain (FRA, Yamaha) +00:29:38
7. Jakub Przygonski (POL, KTM) +01:14:27
8. Cyril Despres (FRA, Yamaha) +01:23:01
9. Jeremias Israel Esquerre (CHL, Speedbrain) +01:23:30
10. Stefan Svitko (SVK, KTM) +01:30:13