Dakar : KTM Racing - Leg 3
The long stage from Puerto Madryn to Jacobacci smiled on the Repsol KTM team with Marc Coma and Jordi Viladoms crossing the final finishing line together ahead of their rivals.
Less fortunate was their KTM team mate Cyril Despres (Red Bull
KTM) who again suffered tyre problems and had to wait for his support rider Alain Duclos to ‘lend' him his rear wheel.
“It was a good day for us. I started in 17th place but fortunately there was a lot of wind so dust wasn't a problem. The biggest challenge was finding the right compromise between preserving the tyre and maintaining a good speed. Once again today we opted for a tube. It is a very difficult decision to make because nobody has much experience of riding here, but for this stage at least it seemed like the right choice. Tonight we will again have a good look at our road book before making any decisions for the fourth stage. Here we can only make tactics day by day.”
“I started fourth this morning and took it easy to let Marc (Coma) catch me up. Then I was able to follow him and the time I lost waiting I made up for in his ‘slipstream'. It is a little scary riding with the tube you have to be always looking out for stones and over the first part there was a lot o them. Later on the piste became much smoother and we could open the throttle a bit more.”
“Before CP1 everything was going well and I was thinking I had made the right choice running a mousse.
But by the time I got to the first refuelling the tyre was starting to go soft so I thought I would take advantage of the 15 minute stop to put a tube in. The problem was that when I stopped the mousse swelled up and I couldn't get the tyre off. In the process of trying I damaged the bead and so on leaving the refuelling I was convinced I would be on the rim in 20 kilometres. In fact, by taking it easy I managed to get to CP2. I found out there that Alain (Duclos) wasn't too far behind so I decided to wait for him. In all I lost 50 minutes between CP1 and CP2 and another 10 minutes waiting at CP2 which explains why I am down 1.5 hours overall this evening. It is starting to be a lot…”
“When I got to CP1 I heard that Cyril was having trouble with his mousse so I rode hard from there not to keep him waiting. Unfortunately I was in too much of a rush and went over the bars at about 80 kph - and it hurt. When I got to CP2 Cyril was waiting and so I handed over my wheel. He told me not to go over 80 kph so I took it easy til the end. I almost made it to the bivouac but 35 kms from home the mousse came out of the tyre and I had to finish on the rim.”