2013 FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship
The beginning of the year was tough for KTM Factory Racing’s Marc Coma.
The three-time Dakar winner was not able to participate at this year’s Dakar due to a healing shoulder injury sustained late last year at the Morocco Rally, which is basically testing grounds for Dakar.
But when the six-round 2013 FIM Cross Countries Rally World Championship began at Abu Dhabi early this month, Coma took the win aboard the KTM 450 Rally Replica.
And two weeks after redeeming himself with the Abu Dhabi win, Coma is already in the lead of round 2 of the Cross Countries Rally World Championship – the Sealine Rally in Doha, Qatar. When the opening stage of four finished up Tuesday, the Spaniard had the lead by over two minutes ahead of Speedbrain Husqvarna’s Paolo Goncalves.
Marc Coma (Factory KTM 450 Rally Replica) says: “I am happy with the stage and I’m in a good position but it was a tough day with difficult navigation and it was necessary to stay focused. I had a good starting position and after I caught the riders in front I was able to open the race. It was perfect.”
The 2013 Sealine Rally began a new format for 2013. Instead of five days, only four are on the schedule with the time special representing at least 97 percent of the total miles traveled.
On Tuesday, the Special features a range of stony desert terrain and dunes, the special 251 miles out of a total of 257 for the day.
Coma was in normal form, finishing the stage in 4:58.46, having over two minutes on Portugal’s Goncalves. KTM’s Norwegian rider Pal Anders Ullevalseter was third and Coma’s two KTM factory teammates Jakub Przygonski of Poland and Chaleco Lopez of Chile were fourth and fifth.
The top five riders, all veterans of the Dakar Rally have already distanced themselves from the next group and there is 19-minute gap between Lopez and the sixth placed rider. Coma, Przygonski and Lopez are all riding the KTM 450 Dakar-winning Rally bike, KTM reports.
Marc Coma says: “I’m pleased with my riding. My navigation is strong, my speed is good and I know my fitness will be fine,” Coma said. “I will try to win again like last year. I feel that there’s a perfect route for a perfect race here.”
Wednesday’s Stage Two is the longest of this year’s edition with a total distance of 262 miles, including 256 of timed special, relating to 99.5% of the total distance.
Sealine Rally at Doha, Qatar, Stage One Results:
1. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 4 hours 58.46
2. Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, Speedbrain Husqvarna at 2.04
3. Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM at 4.00
4. Jakub Przygonski, Poland, KTM at 6.02
5. Chaleco Lopez, Chile, KTM at 12.01
6. Juan Carlos Salvatierra, Bolivia, Honda at 31.15
7. Khalid Khammis Ozair, Honda, 50.47
8. Mohammed Al Balooshi, KTM, 52.07
9. Rafal Sonic, Poland, Honda, 56.22
10. Quin Cody, USA, Speedbrain Husqvarna, 1:15.23