Antofagasta to Copiapo
For the third time in the 2011 Dakar Rally, Marc Coma was victorious aboard the KTM 450 Rally.
The Spaniard took the victory on Monday at Stage 8 of Dakar 2011, which brought the motorcyclists through 268 km of road, and then 508 km of timed special.
He was followed to the line 1:55 seconds later by KTM rider Cyril Despres of Andorra, and Sunday’s Stage 7 winner, Francisco "Chaleco" Lopes of Chile.
Marc Coma (KTM Dakar) says: "We took turns to open the way and at a very fast pace. It was a good stage after a complicated one yesterday. But in the end, everything turned out fine. I’m glad, because it was a 500-km special. That’s a hell of a lot."
These three pilots are also well ahead of the motorcycle field in the overall standings at Dakar 2011; Coma leads, Despres is 9:19 seconds behind, and Lopez trails Coma by 22:48 seconds.
The next closest motorcycle is the Yamaha ridden by Helder Rodrigues of Portugal; he is 41:42 seconds behind Coma in the overall standings, and the final rider to be within an hour of the leader’s time.
At Stage 8, Paolo Goncalves crashed, breaking his collar bone. He has now exited the 2011 Dakar Rally.
The other big news was the fifth-place finisher, Pal Anders Ullevalseter of Norway on the KTM. The runner-up to Despres during last year’s Dakar is starting to get used to his 450cc as the event progresses. He moved into seventh postion overall, after starting the Rally in 29th place.
During Stage 9 on Tuesday, the Dakar riders will travel the desert from Copiapo back to Copiapo through a 35-km link, and then 235 km of timed special.
There is also a group start with the front runners going off in rows of 10 riders and the later rows of 20 riders so there will be no traditional, dust free advantage for the front rider.
2011 Dakar Stage 8 Results
1. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 6:05:02
2. Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM, at 1:55
3. Francisco (Chaleco) Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, 4:21
4. Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, at 8:38
5. Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM, 25:03
2011 Dakar Standings after Stage 8
1. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM
2. Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM, at 9:19
3. Francisco (Chaleco) Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, 22:48
4. Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, at 41:42
5. Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM at 1:09:59