Abu Dhabi Challenge: Coma Regains Lead

2012 FIM Cross Country Rally Raid World Championship

Although he lost some time during Stage 2 of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, MRW Repsol KTM’s Mar Coma rode with vengeance Wednesday, taking Stage 3 by over eight minutes.

Before the start of the first round in the 2012 FIM Cross Country Rally Raid World Championship, Coma said Stage 3 would be the toughest of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.

Why? Well it was about to take the riders 264 miles, beginning with a 36-mile run, followed by a timed session of 104 miles, then another transition route of five miles before the final special of the stage for another 110 miles.

Coma, who started from 11th position Wednesday, began catching riders in the first timed session of 104 miles. He began passing riders, and ended Stage 3 by 8:47 over Joan Barreda, and 8:27 over Barreda in the overall standings.

On Thursday, the riders will face the largest section of the 2012 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge –

324 miles, which will be split into a first run of 66 miles, a 197-mile special stage and a closing 60-mile section.

Marc Coma (MRW Repsol KTM 450 Rally) says: “This was he longest stage, with hot conditions and a really tough challenge. I am happy with the result and with how the race looks from here on. We have two important days to go, but today was important too and we passed the test with flying colors. Starting from 11th was a key factor and we were looking for this over the past few days.

“When you start from a position that is further back, you have to try and cut the distance with the best time possible. That’s what we did. Tomorrow is another difficult day and I expect that we will lose a bit of our advantage, but I also hope that we have enough at the end of the day to continue to top the standings.”

2012 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: Stage 3 Results:

1. Marc Coma 04:49:51

2. Joan Barreda +00:08:47

3. David Casteu +00:11:33

4. Jakub Przygonsky +00:12:58

5. Sean Gauguin +00:15:06

2012 Abu Dhabii Desert Challenge Overall Standings (After three of five stages):

1. Marc Coma 12:47:17

2. Joan Barreda +00:08:27

3. Jordi Viladoms +00:19:09

4. Paulo Gonçalves +00:21:06

5. Rubén Faría +00:24:06

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One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007 and is currently Editor at Large at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of 365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).