Marc Coma bounced back from his navigation error, yesterday to win the 326km day fourth stage of the 2012 Dakar. Having lost a massive 13m 03s the 35 year old Spaniard attacked the stage hard from the start.
Riding the his factory KTM he won the stage by 2m 02 and in doing so closed down on the race leader and team-mate Cyril Dspres.
Comas said: ““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 a lot of water in the rivers. I tried to ride at a very fast pace from the beginning, but it was difficult. I was able to overtake a few riders and make up some time on Cyril.. That is the way things are right now and I intend to keep on fighting every day."
Despres claimed second position on the stage, which means that he still leads the overall standings by 8m 10s. The Frenchman is currently reaping the rewards of his perfect navigation and meticulous preparation which saw him make over 400 notes on his road book today.
He said: It was difficult because the rainfall in the region these last few days furrowed the tracks and exposed big rocks. It is also very physically demanding in this heat and difficult to maintain a fast pace. 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.”
Sherco rider Frans Verhoeven claimed a brilliant third position ahead of Yamaha man Helder Roriguez in fifth.
Irishman Stan Watt continued to make impressive progress onboard his Crescent Racing KTM finishing the fourth stage in 46th place. Watt’s strong result has escalated him up the leader board and he now holds 43rd place in the overall standings, 2h 55m 48s adrift of race leader Despres.
Brits Jago Pickering and Tobias Younger survived another day of the arduous event and how hold 137th and 140th place respectively.
Stage Four Results
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, 4:16.43
2, Cyril Despres, France, KTM at 2.02
3, Frans Verhoeven, Netherlands, Sherco, at 8.26
4, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, 9.01
5, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, Husqvarna at 11.18
Overall Results after Stage Four
1, Cyril Despres, France, KTM 11 hours 50.27
2, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 8 minutes 10 seconds
3, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 26.48
4, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, 29.50
5, David Casteu, France, Yamaha at 30.37