Words: Darryl Curtis
What happened yesterday:
Riaan crashed heavily yesterday destroying all his navigation equipment and buckling his front wheel. He still managed 17th for the day and maintained his 14th overall position. He is 13th in the Rally category. He also picked up a 4 minute speeding penalty on the way home due to his smashed Unik 2 gps. Paulo Gonzalves won yesterdays stage ahead of Factory Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma. Marc is currently third, trailing Paulo by 2 minutes 40 on the overall.
Todays stage: 14Km Liasion, 310Km special, 25Km Liasion
It was a dusty stage today, starting close to Erfoud this morning on the longest stage of the rally. Broadlink KTM’s Riaan van Niekerk opted to not take any chances in the dust after his monster crash yesterday, he will maintain his 13th place overall. With only one day remaining it will be a case of keeping up a steady pace and making it to the finish line in one piece. This has been a valuable exercise and being part of the Factory KTM team has been phenominal, who better to learn from than 5 time World Rally champion Marc Coma and the team. They are super professional in every way and pay special attention to every single detail.
The other manufacturers are all putting huge effort in to win the Dakar and the riders know that they have to work harder if they are going to feature this year, the level of riding and competition increases each year and the level right now is astounding, this years’ Dakar will for sure have us on the seat of our pants.
Joan Berreda of Spain won the stage today and has also moved into the overall lead of the rally. Factory Red Bull KTM’ Marc Coma beat Paulo Gonzalves to the line and made up some 2 minutes 20. Marc will start ahead of Paulo tomorrow, Paulo leads Marc by 20 seconds going into the last day, the world championship title could go either way, All the pressure will be on Marc tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s stage: 27Km Liasion, 219Km special, 39Km Liasion Time for tricky navigation for the final stage of the rally. After alternating between fast tracks and crossing unseen dunes, competitors will go back up the dry riverbed using the mythical Chebbi dunes on the left. They will head west to the finish to reach the final dunes and cross through the finish of the rally.