2015 Dakar Rally Stage 9 Motorcycle ResultsFollowing Monday’s hectic stage eight, the 2015 Dakar Rally motorcycle competitors were faced Tuesday with their final day in Chile’s Atacama Desert. Stage nine took riders 335 miles from Iquique to Calama, Chile, which included a grueling 280-mile special.
First, the riders were subjected to about 30 miles of sand and dunes before riding through narrow tracks strewn with potholes and fesh-fesh – the soft dust that is a true test to one’s skill on a motorcycle.Taking his second win of 2015 Dakar Rally – and his seventh-career Dakar stage win – was Team HRC Honda’s Helder Rodrigues. The Portuguese pilot was in total control, finishing the stage 3:15 ahead of teammate Paulo Gonclaves.Taking third was the man who chases his fifth Dakar Rally win – Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma. The Spaniard finished 7:34 behind Rodrigues, but was able to hold onto the overall lead that he gained during stage eight. Coma now holds a 5:28-minute lead over Gonclaves, who won two stages so far in 2015 Dakar Rally.“It was foggy at the start of the special and I made one small navigation mistake and I lost some time there, but then I tried to push with a high rhythm to come back to my position,” Coma says. “The last part was also tricky navigation and it was difficult to find one of the waypoints. I am lucky because maybe I am faster than some of the others and I can push until the end. It’s okay. It was a good day for us.”Following his stage-nine victory, Rodrigues talked of the challenges: “The stage was great. In the beginning there was a lot of sand. I pushed a lot at the beginning and had to concentrate a lot to navigate well. At refueling I saw I had got a good time. The result today is a possible win for me. I pushed a little bit then I saw Paulo catch up with me.“I waited a little bit so I didn’t kick up too much dust for him, so he passed me but then he got lost. I found the way point first and I finished here with a good time. Yesterday was very hard for us and today was just fun and the aim was to just get to the finish. The stage was very hard but compared to yesterday it was nothing.”Gonclaves also commented on the difficulties: “For me, it’s like before. I’m here to give my best, to fight day-by-day. Today, it was a really difficult stage again. I started pushing from the beginning. In the middle of the stage I missed a way point and so I turned back to find it.“I lost some time there, but after I started pushing again. In the end I finished well and I recovered some time from yesterday. So now I’m second overall, but this is not really important because we have four days more in front of us to race. Many things can happen. I will try and I will keep fighting, me and team HRC, to get the best overall position possible. Like I say, many things can happen, but for me it’s not additional pressure. I will ride day-by-day like I have done from the beginning, so we’ll always keep fighting. The strategy is to try and keep the bike safe, only that.”Taking fourth – his best finish in 2015 Dakar – was Javier Pizzolito aboard the Honda South America Rally Team CRF Honda Rally. He was followed by two riders supported by KTM – Toby Price and Pablo Quintanilla.Rounding out the top 10 on Tuesday were Yamaha’s Olivier Pain, KTM’s David Casteu, and the man who led the Rally until Monday’s stage eight, where the Spaniard suffered major complications aboard his Honda CRF 450 Rally – Joan Barreda Bort. Overall, Barreda Bort is 1 hour 35 minutes behind Coma.Overall, the next closest rider to Coma and Gonclaves is Quintanilla, who is 26:25 minutes behind the leader with four stages remaining.The second marathon stage arrives Wednesday, which means at the conclusion only the riders can work on their motorcycles. Stage 10 will take riders 554 miles from Calama, Chile, to Cachi, Argentina, with 231 of those miles timed.2015 Dakar Rally Stage 9 Results: