KTM’s Coma Maintains Sealine Lead

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2012 Cross Country Rally World Championship

MRW Repsol KTM’s Marc Coma didn’t take the stage two win Thursday at the Sealine Cross Country Rally in Qatar, round two of the 2012 Cross Country Rally World Championship, but his third-place finish allowed him to maintain the lead.

After winning the first stage of the Sealine Cross Country Rally near the Losail International Circuit on Wednesday, Coma further benefited from a penalization of two hours given to his rival Joan Barreda for skipping a checkpoint.

But the Speedbrain Husqvarna rider returned with vengeance Thursday, taking a convincing stage two win. Due to the penalty, the Husqvarna TE 449 rider had to start 33rd, but finished on top, even after helping fellow competitor Francisco Lopez up from being trapped under his bike.

Joan Barreda (Speedbrain Husqvarna TE 449) says: “I’s very frustrating. I can´t understand the jury decision. We´re talking a few metres, it´s a drastic measure. I will keep fighting for top stage results.”

Finishing second, 7:10 behind Barreda, was Yamaha’s Helder Rodrigues. Coma followed Barreda 9:12 behind in third.

Overall, Coma now holds a 1:08 lead over Rodrigues.

Marc Coma (MRW Repsol KTM 450 Rally) says: “Stages like today’s are difficult, because despite it being a repeat of yesterday’s special stage we had to be very alert with our navegation. It was very windy and we couldn’t see our tracks from yesterday.

“I was in front for practically the entire time, opening the stage on my own, until Hélder Rodrigues caught up at the end. It was important to be very cautious all the time and not make mistakes, because tomorrow is going to be a long and hard day that will most likely decide the race. We will have to focus on navigation again, because it could be a very important aspect and we can’t leave ourselves any way point.

“We are starting to understand the terrain, which is slightly similar to the Egyptian deserts with white rock and open spaces. What’s more, there are some unique areas with dunes inbetween dry lakes, which is typical of Qatar.”

Friday’s stage is the longest of the rally: four miles running into 222 miles of timed riding.

2012 Sealine Cross Country Rally Stage Two Results:
1. Joan Barreda 03:33:31
2. Hélder Rodrigues +00:07:10
3. Marc Coma +00:09:12
4. Paulo Gonçalves +00:09:44
5. Chaleco López +00:13:48

2012 Sealine Cross Country Rally General Standings:
1. Marc Coma 07:33:24
2. Hélder Rodrigues +00:01:08
3. Jordi Viladoms +00:14:41
4. Jakub Przygonski +00:14:50
5. Rubén Faría +00:15:58