The Italian island of Sardinia has been for the last five days, the venue of the third event of the Raids World Championships, won by Marc Coma.
Leader from the first special stage, the Repsol rider has dominated the race with an iron grip from its first moments, setting a pace and level of riding which, despite navigation difficulties, no other competitor was able to reach.
The prologue to the 2010 edition of the Rally of Sardinia began last Thursday in Olbia, in the far north of the island, in which 77 riders set out with the goal of fighting for victory in the unique Italian event.
1.690 kilometres later, after five days of competition and nine timed sections, Marc Coma has again taken the highest step of the podium at the controls of a KTM EXC 530, after a race which, as usual, was notable for riding and navigation difficulty on the mountainous Italian tracks, always very technical, narrow, windy and with many paths and tracks which make orientation difficult.
Preparing for the first stage, Coma finished in sixteenth place the initial three kilometres against the clock, a strategy which the following day enabled him to start behind and overtake his rivals, to dominate the two specials of the day.
Despite the rain on the second day and having to be the first out, the Repsol rider remained the leader of the race with almost four minutes in his advantage over the second placed rider.
The third day, Coma took the second of the specials and the overall stage, extending his lead in the overall standings on a day dominated by navigation difficulties.
These difficulties, repeated in the fourth stage, which took place yesterday, in which Coma managed to secure a new victory in the longest timed section of the rally – 195 kilometres -, being the first out and, at the end of the day, gaining an advantage in the standings of more than twelve minutes, prior to today’s stage.
Set in forested areas, along rough tracks full of stones and the typical firebreaks of this rally, Coma won one of the two specials of the day, confirming his final race victory.
The Repsol rider has overcome his unresolved issues in the best possible way with a race in which a year ago he was knocked out by a fall whilst leading the event, demonstrating once again his talent at the controls of a bike, his navigation skills and his ambition to strive for the highest level.
Marc Coma says: "I’m very happy. With myself, with the team, with the people who support us and with all the sponsors who make all this possible. I would like to dedicate this victory to a person very special to me, Luca Manca. I really appreciate all his support, his help and the way he is. It´s been a really complicated rally, most of the stages were very technical, needing real focus on navigation, and that didn’t make this victory easy. We’ve been very consistent and I believe that as a team we’ve done a great job. There´s the result. I’m leaving the island with a good feeling. Thanks to everyone!"
Final Results Sardinia Rally
1. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 530 EXC, 15:08’27.77
2. Andrea Mancini, Italy, Husqvarna, 15:19’29.01
3. Cyril Despres, France, KTM 530 EXC, 15:20’57.13
4. Jordi Viladoms, Spain, Husqvarna, 15:20’59.91
5. Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, 15:24’25.67
6. M. Graziani KTM 530 EXC 15:29’01.78
7. P. Ceci, Beta 15:30’34.22
8. D. Casteu, Sherco 450 15:33’24.05
9. A. Zanotti Aprilia 450 15:43’18.29
10. J. Przygonski, KTM 530 EXC 15:46’29.19