Coma Rides His Way to Fifth Dakar Rally Title

Make that five Dakar Rally titles for Marc Coma

The 38-year-old Spanish rally racing motorcycle rider captured his fifth Dakar Rally title in the motorcycle class on Saturday, completing the 13 stages in a time of 46:03:49.

Marc Coma

Coma, who races for KTM, had a big lead heading into Saturday’s 174-kilometer (108-mile) final stage, which was interrupted by rain, and coasted to victory in the general classification ahead of Portugal’s Paulo Gonçalves (Honda) and Australia’s Toby Price (KTM).

The Spaniard also won the Dakar Rally in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2014.

The Dakar Rally, which has been held in South America for the past seven years, started in Buenos Aires province on January 4 and traversed parts of Argentina, Chile and Bolivia before finishing up in Baradero, for a total distance of 9,000 kilometers (5,600 miles).

Coma Earns Fourth Motorcycle Trophy at the Dakar Rally

Make that four for Marc Coma

The 37-year-old Spanish rally racing ride won the motorcycle race at the Dakar Rally for a fourth time over the weekend, finishing the rally an hour, 53 minutes ahead of countryman and KTM teammate Jordi Viladoms.

Marc Coma

Olivier Pain of France was third, and two-time defending champ Cyril Despres fourth.

“I remember being unable to start last year’s race, and yet I’m here now, I’ve won,” Coma said. “I’m going to savor it. I don’t know if I’ll ever win it again.”

Coma took control of the race, which began two weeks ago, on the fifth stage, a long sandy run to Tucuman, Argentina, and avoided risks and watched his rivals fall away.

His nemesis, Despres, experienced electrical trouble and fell out of contention on the same stage. But Despres worked hard to claw back from 12th to missing the podium by five minutes.

Marc Coma

In his previous 10 Dakars, he’d won five times, and been runner-up four times. Fourth was his worst finish since 2001.

Coma added to his victories in 2006, 2009 and 2011.

Roma and Coma Maintain Their Dakar Rally Lead

It’s full lead ahead for Nani Roma and Marc Coma

The Spanish rally racer driver and Spanish rally race motorcycle rider kept their comfortable overall leads in the Dakar Rally after a fast eighth stage on Monday.

Dakar Rally

Both took different high-altitude routes down into Chile.

Roma and the cars undertook a 300-kilometer special from Salta, Argentina, over the Andes.

Roma endured two punctures on the stony track and finished sixth, losing eight minutes off his lead over defending champion Stephane Peterhansel of France.

Peterhansel was down to 24 minutes off the pace. Giniel de Villiers of South Africa remained 48 minutes behind in third, and Orlando Terranova of Argentina stayed fourth, 51 minutes back. They were the only ones within an hour of Roma.

Peterhansel was second in the stage, about a minute behind winner Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar, who led in his Mini most of the way for his 18th Dakar stage victory. Carlos Sainz of Spain was third.

Coma and the motorbikes left from Uyuni, Bolivia, on a 460-kilometer trek around the Salar de Uyuni, the world’s biggest salt flats.

Coma, with a big overall lead, was happy to stay on the tail of his great rival, Cyril Despres of France, the titleholder who won his first stage of the year.

Despres beat Joan Barreda Bort of Spain and Coma by more than two minutes, but Despres was still more than two hours behind Coma overall.

Barreda remained second and 38 minutes behind Coma overall, and the only rider within an hour of the leader.

But the rally returns to the treacherous sand dunes on Tuesday, racing through the Atacama Desert from Calama to Iquique.