2012 Dakar: Stage 4 Results, Motorcycles
2012 Dakar Rally Results
During Stage Three of 2012 Dakar Tuesday, the reigning champion Marc Coma had some navigational issues.
By the end of Tuesday’s stage, the Spaniard’s error pushed him back in the overall standings, 10:12 behind his KTM teammate and rival who took the stage-three win, the Frenchman Cyril Despres.
But on Wednesday, the three-time Dakar winner Coma put his mistake behind, and rode consistently to take the win at Stage Four, which took riders north from San Juan to the Argentinean town of Chilecito.
It was a grueling stage that went through the Province of Rioja, with much heat and previous amounts of rainfall causing ruts as the motorcycle riders completed 466 miles, 202 of those timed.
When Stage Four was complete, Coma, who also won Stage Two, took the win by 2:02 over the other three-time Dakar winner Despres, and 8:26 over Sheraco SR 450’s Frans Verhoeven.
Coma set the pace right from the beginning of Stage Four, and by 85 miles into the special he overtook Yamaha’s David Casteu and Helder Rodrigues, Husqvarna’s Paulo Goncalves and Verhoeven by 85 miles into the special.
Despres continued to lose speed, but only gave Coma a slight gain of 2:02. Although he regained his momentum, Coma remains in second overall after four of 14 stages; Coma now trails Despres by 8:10. In third, 26:48 behind Despres is Yamaha WRF 450 rider Helder Rodrigues.
Marc Coma (MRW Red Bull AMV KTM 450 Rally) says: “It was a very tough special, in particular at the beginning with the fast start. Then, we had to focus on the navigation and tackle water, a lot of it, in the ríos.
“I tried to drive at a very high pace from the beginning, but it was difficult. I was able to overtake a few pilots and gain some time on Cyril. Fiambala and many other stages still lie ahead. That is the way things are right now. And I keep on fighting every day.”
Cyril Despres (Red Bull KTM 450 Rally) says: “It was difficult because the rainfall in the region these last few days furrowed the tracks and exposed big rocks. Moreover, with this the heat it is physically demanding to maintain a high pace in these conditions.
“So I am quite happy with my performance today. At the beginning I saw Marc surge ahead and I knew he would claw some time back, but I focused on the navigation to avoid making any mistakes, slowing down a bit before every note. Since we had almost 400 notes today, I will be quite happy if I only lose two minutes.”
Speaking of the battle as usual up from between the KTM riders, Dakar says: “The impossibility of competing ‘on a fair level’ is becoming more and more obvious behind the KTM stars. After four days of racing, the candidates to the final podium already lie roughly half an hour back.
“Verhoeven was the best of the rest, 8:26 back, despite suffering electrical issues which took him a few minutes to repair. Just behind him, Rodrigues is the best placed rider in the general classification to take advantage of any mistake made by the duo of favorites.
“But he still lies 26’48” back! The Yamaha pilot, who already got a spot on the final podium last year, overtook David Casteu in the GC after the latter made a navigational mistake at the beginning of the stage. In one fell swoop, he also overtook “Chaleco” López, who joined Casteu in the group of riders who lost around 15 minutes between San Juan and Chilecito.”
On Thursday, Stage Five will take the 2012 Dakar motorcycle competitors 258 miles from Chilecito to Fiambala, with 164 miles timed.
2012 Dakar Rally: Stage Four Results, Motorcycles:
2012 Dakar Rally: Overall Motorcycle Results Following Stage Four: