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Spaniards top bikes and cars

2012-01-09 22:10

BIKE WASH TIME: France's Cyril Despres cleans his KTM at the first control after bogging-down in mud during Stage 8 of the Dakar between Copiapo and Antofagasta, Chile. Spain's Marc Coma won the stage. Image: AFP

Veronica Sardon

Antofagasta, Chile - Spain's defending Dakar motorcycling champion Marc Coma won Stage 8 and regained the overall lead on Monday in his thrilling duel with France's three-times winner Cyril Despres.

Coma's compatriot Nani Roma won his second stage of the race in the car section in his Mini though French Dakar legend Stephane Peterhansel retained the overall lead.


Coma was more than seven minutes behind Despres going into the 477km stage from Copiapo to Antofagasta but the Spaniard benefited from his fellow KTM rider having problems early on when he got stuck in a boggy patch which had not been highlighted in the race book.

Despres eventually came in 17min20 behind Coma but race stewards took into account his time spent in the bog and amended his time accordingly to 9min14. He is now 1min26 behind Coma in the overall standings.

Coma's fourth stage win - his 20th overall - of the rally saw him finish in 5hr03min52, seven minutes faster than his team mate Portuguese rider Ruben Faria while the latter's compatriot, Yamaha rider Helder Rodrigues, was 7min10 behind in third.

"My 20th special victory - a nice figure," said 35-year-old Coma. "Yet it is not winning specials that counts, but winning the race. There is still a long week of racing ahead."

Despres said he could not avoid the mishap which befell him. "There was a torrent of mud between the inspection of the reconnaissance car two days ago and today (Monday),” he explained. “It did not appear in the road book and I was the first to fall into the trap. There was no way I could have avoided it."


Roma, a former winner in the motorcycle section, finished in 4hr25min44, five seconds quicker than American Robby Gordon in his Hummer. Former overall leader and fellow Mini pilot Krzysztof Holowczyc was third, 2min04 behind.

Peterhansel came in fourth, 5min38sec slower, and defending champion Nasser al-Attiyah of Qatar was fifth in a Hummer but lost more time on the overall leader as he was 8min09 back.

Gordon slashed three minutes off 46-year-old Peterhansel's overall lead and is now only 7min36 behind. Indeed, Peterhansel cursed himself after the special and said he feared Gordon could deprive him of an historic 10th win.

"I’m losing loads of time,” he said. “I drove quite slowly in the rocky parts because I was scared of punctures but I had one 30km from the finish.

"Gordon started three minutes before us and 180km from here we had got to 30sec behind him. I think when he saw us he stepped it up, leaving us in the dust. He can win this thing."


Al-Attiyah has been plagued by problems from the start - he had more on Monday - but refused to give up hope of still making a significant mark on the race.

"There were six cars in front of us and we overtook all the Minis, as well as De Villiers' Toyota," said the 31-year-old. "We did a good job. They are nervous because I overtook all of them, but that is not my problem.

“I know everything is going smoothly. We will see how far we can go."

This the eighth stage of the rally took drivers from Copiapo to Antofagasta on a 686km stage, with 477km timed - the longest special of the 2012 Dakar Rally.

Dakar Rally results on Monday after the 477km Stage 8 from Copiapo to Antofagasta:


1 Nani Roma/Michel Perin (ESP/FRA/Mini) 4hr25min44
2 Robby Gordon/Johnny Campbell (USA/Hummer) +0min05
3 Krzysztof Holowczyc/Jean-Marc Fortin (POL/BEL/Mini) +2min04
4 Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA/Mini) +5min38
5 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Lucas Cruz (QAT/ESP/Hummer) +8min09
6 Giniel de Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (RSA/GER/Toyota) +9min16
7 Carlos Sousa/Jean-Pierre Garcin (POR/FRA/Great Wall) +16min17
8 Leonid Novitzkiy/Andreas Schulz (RUS/GER/Mini) +18min45
9 Ricardo Leal Dos Santos/Paulo Fiuza (POR/Mini) +20min58
10 Duncan Vos/Robert Howie (RSA/Toyota) +22min06

1 Stephane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA/Mini) 20hr04min15
2 Robby Gordon/Johnny Campbell (USA/Hummer) +7min36sec
3 Krzysztof Holowczyc/Jean-Marc Fortin (POL/BEL/Mini) +7min48
4 Nani Roma/Michel Perin (ESP/FRA/Mini) +12min27
5 Giniel de Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (RSA/GER/Toyota) +37min45
6 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Lucas Cruz (QAT/ESP/Hummer) +45min25
7 Leonid Novitzkiy/Andreas Schulz (RUS/GER/Mini) +1hr7min33
8 Carlos Sousa/Jean-Pierre Garcin (POR/FRA/Great Wall) +1hr23min29
9 Lucio Alvarez/Ronnie Graue (ARG/Toyota) +2hr04min15
10 Erik Van Loon/Harmen Scholtalbers (NED/Mitsubishi) +2hr19min04


1 Marc Coma (ESP/KTM) 5hr03min52
2 Ruben Faria (POR/KTM) +7min00
3 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Yamaha) +7min10
4 Joan Barreda Bort (ESP/Husqvarna) +8min44
5 Stefan Svitko (SVK/KTM) +9min09
6 Cyril Despres (FRA/KTM) +9min14
7 Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP/KTM) +10min31
8 David Casteu (FRA/Yamaha) +12min02
9 Jordi Viladoms (ESP/KTM) +12min35
10 Johnny Aubert (FRA/KTM) +13min50

1 Marc Coma (ESP/KTM) 23hr24min18
2 Cyril Despres (FRA/KTM) +1min26
3 Helder Rodrigues (POR/Yamaha) +49min01
4 David Casteu (FRA/Yamaha) +1hr09min52
5 Paulo Goncalves (POR/Husqvarna) +1hr12min11
6 Jordi Viladoms (ESP/KTM) +1hr12min27
7 Gerard Farres Guell (ESP/KTM) +1hr15min35
8 Stefan Svitko (SVK/KTM) +1hr18min40
9 Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP/KTM) +1hr26min31
10 Olivier Pain (FRA/Yamaha) +1hr41min53

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