Dakar, Stage 2: Changing fortunes

Photo: Marcelo Maragni / Red Bull Content Pool

Sam Sunderland (KTM) saw a big change in his fortunes in Stage 2 of the 2015 Dakar Rally, finishing in 72nd on the day and landing in 67th overall. The win went to Honda’s Joan Barreda Bort.

Apparently, Sunderland got himself lost towards the end of the day and took quite a while finding his way back on track, although he did manage to finish on time. This likely torpedoes his chances at taking the title this year, as he’s now 2:25:07 back of rally leader Barrreda Bort. A similar incident ruined Cyril Despres’ chance at the win last year, although the Frenchman mounted a fantastic comeback attempt at the podium.

Barreda Bort managed to finish the 518-km stage in 05:46:06. Second place again went to Paulo Goncalves (Honda), only six seconds back, and third went to Ruben Faria (KTM). Jordi Viladoms, who finished second overall in 2014, was fourth in Stage 2, and Toby Price (KTM) finished fifth.

” It was really hard, really tough in the last part of special with a lot of tracks and a lot of bumps and it was so physical, Barreda Bort said after his win. “But today was one of these days where it is important to get to the finish and we’ve got here so we are really happy. I was alone in some parts, but the most important was to remain calm over the first kilometres and finally we did a really good job.”

Stage 2 had the longest special of the 2015 rally.

Marc Coma, last year’s champion, was doing well until he ran into problems near the day’s end, but he was happy he managed to finish.

“I felt that 60 km from the end my rear tire was finished and I started to ride no faster than 60 kph,” Coma said. “We lost some time today, but at the end I’m lucky because normally I could have stayed stuck in the desert all the day”.

Coma finished eighth in Stage 2, and is sitting in sixth overall. Successful riders can afford to be a bit back in the early stages, letting more desperate riders take the risks that put them out of the race; still, Coma will have to start putting up more points if he wants to win again.

The points shuffle now leaves Honda in the top two overall places, followed by three KTMs. Yamaha seems to be struggling this year; only one Yamaha-mounted rider is in the top 10, in tenth place. Olivier Pain, who finished third overall last year, only managed 19th in Stage 2 and is sitting in 17th overall right now – certainly not the result Yamaha wanted.

Dakar2015 : Bike rankings after Stage 2

1. Barreda Bort (Honda) – 07:06:44

2. Goncalves (Honda) – 07:11:21 (00:04:37)

3. Faria (KTM) – 07:17:21 (00:10:37)

4. Viladoms (KTM) – 07:18:08 (00:11:24)

5. Price (KTM) – 07:18:16 (00:11:32)

6. Coma (KTM) – 07:18:47 (00:12:03)

7. Walkner (KTM) – 07:19:10 (00:12:26)

8. Rodrigues (Honda) – 07:20:10 (00:13:26)

9. Israel Esquerre (Honda) – 07:23:08 (00:16:24)

10. Pedrero Garcia (Yamaha) – 07:26:18 (00:19:34)



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