Marc Coma took full advantage of a big mistake by his KTM team-mate Cyril Despres to pull out an overall lead of 18 minutes and 10 seconds, with only three days left to go in this edition of the Dakar rally.
"I made a first big mistake after 120 km whilst I was riding well," Despres said. "I read 17 instead of 117 on the navigation and I ended up in the rocks with Verhoeven.
We already lost lots of time there, but then in the last few kilometers I made another mistake, turned round and fell into a mud hole. It was impossible to get back out; it took me 10 minutes in all."
This was the longest day of the rally, 862 km in total, and Coma had an uneventful day to take the stage win as well as extend his overall lead. Despres still managed second on the day, followed by Portuguese Ruben Faria and Slovenian Miran Stanovnik, all four riders on KTMs to reassert the brand’s dominance of this year’s rally.
The first non-KTM was Francisco Lopez Contardo’s Aprilia, brought in fifth for the day. Contardo is still in a good position to take third overall in the rally behind Coma and Despres. He leads Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha), while Faria holds down fifth.
Stage 11 is another long one, 786 km in total with 622 km being the special stage. It will be another rocky and sandy day, covering an area cobwebbed with canyons and rock spires.
On the car side, defending champion Carlos Sainz lost another 10 minutes to his VW team-mate Nasser Al-Attiyah, putting him 12 minutes 37 seconds back. "If Nasser doesn’t make a mistake, then it is over," Sainz stated.
Here’s the official video for the day: