KTM’s three-times Dakar winner and reigning World Rally Champion Marc Coma goes into Friday’s final stage of the Sealine Rally in Qatar with a narrow lead of just over two minutes in this compact and tight four leg race.
Photos by Chytka M.
The Sealine is the second round of the World Cross Countries Rally Championship and Coma, three times Dakar winner and reigning world champion is looking to capture his second win of the season and his second in this rally, first inaugurated in 2012.
Coma won the stage in front of Portugal’s Paolo Goncalves and Coma’s factory teammate Jakub Przygonski. The third member of the KTM team, Chaleco Lopez of Chile was fourth. These four riders also lead the overall standings going into the final day even if the main battle is shaping up to be between Coma and Goncalves. All three KTM riders are on the Dakar winning KTM 450 rally bike
Speaking from the bivouac after Thursday’s stage coma underlined that the rally continues to be very difficult. “Its very complicated, the level is very high and the navigation is very challenging. But I feel very happy because my fitness is good and I think the navigation is going very well for me. Tomorrow for the last stage I will start in front and I will try to make a gap from the other top riders.”
On Wednesday Coma had to scramble back into the reckoning after having to stop to fix a broken seat. He was in the overall lead by just three seconds at the end of the day and Goncalves continues to be his main challenger for the prize.
Riders are stationed in the desert bivouac outside of Doha and each day are on their bikes for four to five hours riding a loop circuit mostly in excess of 400 km, of which more than 98 percent is timed special. The rally concludes on Friday with a shorter 282 km stage of which 275 km is timed special and it will be a hard fought last day.
Stage results: Stage 3 (of four)
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 4 hours 40.35
2, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, Speedbrain, at 2.01
3, Jakub Przygonski, Poland, KTM at 6.02
4, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, KTM at 8.01
5, Quinn Cody, USA, Speedbrain at 34.24
Overall results after Stage Three
1, Coma 14:33.19
2, Goncalves 14:35.23
3, Przygonski, 14:39.27
4, Lopez, 14:45.46
5, Juan Carlos Salvatiera, Bolivia, Honda, 16:06.03