KTM factory rider Marc Coma finished a comfortable second in the second stage of the Dakar Series Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina on Tuesday just two minutes 40 seconds behind stage winner Helder Rodrigues of Portugal.
Coma’s two factory teammates also had a good day with Chilean Chaleco Lopez in fourth place and American Kurt Caselli in fifth, 4 minutes 46 behind the leader. Caselli an offroad and Baja specialist in the US, made his debut with the KTM factory team at the 2013 Dakar Rally where he stepped in to ride for the injured Coma and delivered a very solid first rally. All three KTM riders are on the KTM 450 Rally bike.
The start of Tuesday’s stage was delayed by one hour but finally got underway and effectively launched riders into the competition. Monday’s opening stage was cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. Fog had made it impossible to have the rescue helicopter airborne so organizers called it off after a delay of several hours.
Riders left the bivouac in Tucuman early on Tuesday morning and had to travel for a total of 668.11 km, including the 346.51km timed special. The stage finished in Catamarca. The first part of the timed special was over rough territory and dusty mountain tracks then towards the end they had to alternate between relatively wide sections and other pats that were narrow and stony. KTM team manager Alex Doringer reported all three of his riders were happy with their results after a day that was difficult and very technical.
Stage three takes riders from Catamarca south to Belen over a distance of 714.29 km, 466.17 km of which is timed special. Weather is expected to be very cold to add another dimension of difficulty to a hard day’s work.
Results Stage One
1, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Honda 4 hours 54.49 minutes
2, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 2 minutes 40
3, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal at 3.04
4, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, KTM at 4.38
5, Kurt Caselli, USA at 4.46
Images courtesy KTM Racing