Spaniard Marc Coma took control of the 2011 Dakar when he comprehensively won stage ten of the race by a massive 9m 56s. The factory KTM rider had no problem negotiating the monster 862KM which included a demanding 176KM timed special stage.
The big loser of the day was Cyril Despres who made two costly navigational errors during the timed stage. Despite the set-back the tough Frenchman recovered to finish second on stage but lost valuable time in the overall standings and now trails Coma by 18m 10s with three stages of the race remaining.
Despres explained: "I made a first big mistake after 120 km while I was riding well. I read 17 instead of 117 on the navigation and I ended up in the rocks with Verhoeven. We already lost lots of time there, but then in the last few kilometres I made another mistake, turned round and fell into a mud hole. It was impossible to get back out. It took me ten minutes to dig the bike out, I thought I was going to lose even more time. It's a bad day, but that's rally raids for you, some days are good, some are bad".
Coma and Despres’ closest rival Francisco Lopez was bitterly disappointed at not being able to capitalise on Despres’ tough day. The Aprilia man suffered with a fuel pump problem leaving him down in fifth at the end of the stage.
He said: “I’m mad. Today I had the opportunity to take the second place overall because Cyril Despres didn’t take the right choice in navigation. The problem with the fuel pump took everything away. Well, the Dakar is not over, tomorrow there will be another special stage of 600 km.”
Stage 10 Results
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, 3:06:35
2, Cyril Despres, France, KTM, at 9:56
3, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM, at 13:22
4, Miran Stanovnik, Slovenia, KTM at 21:26
5, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia at 21:43
Standings after Stage 10
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, 38:39:31
2, Cyril Despres, France, KTM, at 18:10
3, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia at 45:16
4, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, 1:24:37
5, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM, at 1:34:42