San Miguel de Tucuman to San Salvador de Jujuy
Again, KTM dominated the field of motorcycles at the 2011 Dakar Rally in Argentina Tuesday for Stage 3, but itthe machine wasn’t piloted by Cyril Despres.
It was reigning title-holder Marc Coma who rode to victory for the 12th time in his Dakar career. But due to his teammate and fellow title-holder Despres taking wins in both Stage 1 and Stage 2, Coma trails the Frenchman overall by 14 seconds.
Marc Coma says: "I’m happy with where I am. I took advantage of a little navigation mistake by Cyril Despres. Of course it’s important to win a special, but my aim is to win the rally."
Following Despres to the line was Paulo Goncalves on the BMW G 450 R, and Olivier Pain on the Yamaha YZ 450 E.
The stages continue to get more challenging and longer, demanding more navigational skills along with increase concentration on the terrain changes. This changes affected Despres in the early part of Stage 3, as he found himself behind Goncalves.
But for Coma, he kept opening up a lead over the field, efficiently winning the 12th stage victory of his Dakar career.
After Stage 3 was completed, Goncalves made up some time; the man from Portugal finished 3:36 seconds behind the Spaniard Coma. Goncalves is now fourth in the general standings.
As for Pain, who had targeted Stage 3 as his potential first victory, his fourth-place finish moves him from 11th to sixth place overall in the overall standings.
Finishing fifth was Despres’ teammate, Ruben Faria; overall, the Portugal KTM rider is 9:38 seconds behind Despres, placing him in third in the overall standing for the 2011 Dakar Rally.
The Dakar riders begin Stage 4 on Wednesday, which will bring them across the Andes via the Paso de Jama at an oxygen-robbing 4800 m altitude before plunging down to Calama in Chile and the notorious Atacama Desert, the world’s driest region.
Having crossed the border from Argentina into Chile the route of the 33rd edition of the rally turns north and riders will head for the northern most tip of Chile, right on the border with Peru.
2011 Dakar Rally Stage 3 Results
1. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, 4:18.55
2. Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM at 2:21
3. Paolo Goncalves, Portugal BMW, at 3:36
4. Olivier Pain, France, Yamaha, at 4:34
5. Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM, at 5.46
2011 Dakar Rally Overall Standings after Stage 3
1. Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM 09:38:58
2. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, at 0:14
3. Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM, at 9:38 (Penalty 00:01.00)
4. Paolo Goncalves, Portugal BMW at 10:43
5. Jose Rodrigues, Brazil, BMW at 16:07