Dakar - Motorbikes - Leg 5
Neither Marc Coma nor Cyril Després managed to win today's stage as their motorbikes raced the 506-kilometre distance from Neuquen to San Rafaël, as it was Jonah Street's turn to take the stage win honours. However, the American is riding a KTM
as well, so some things don't change...
"I worked a lot to get this," Street proudly declared. "I had been dreaming of a stage victory for so long; it's really special!"
"I did some pretty good navigating," he assessed after finishing ahead of Francisco Lopez and David Frétigné. "I was not the fastest because my bike is so much slower than the ones of the manufacturers' riders, but I found the right path and this is what the Dakar is all about."
Street's objective on this event is not necessarily focused on reaching a higher position in the overall standings: "I just want to go on driving at my own pace and taking care of my bike as good as I can to get to the finish of the raid."
As for Cyril Després, every day that passes seems to bring another tyre problem. This time, a puncture at the 380-kilometre mark simply added to his frustration. However, that negative feeling was nicely lightened by some friendly help.
"I met a group of very nice Argentinians and instead of losing 20-22 minutes, I must have lost only 17 or so," reported Després. "They helped me out by passing the tools."
Despite the recurring issues, the Frenchman remains clear on his intentions: signing a stage win before Saturday's rest day.
Marc Coma conserves his overall lead, even if he only took ninth place at the conclusion of this run following a flat tyre fix.
"There were quite a lot of sand dunes and rocks today and a lot of kilometres too. I fell at kilometre 81 and then I drove slow the rest of the day," the Spaniard explained. "What mattered for me was to get to the stage finish with no other trouble and I made it."
Coma spent the last 40 kilometres riding next to David Frétigné, who continues to impress: the Yamaha 450 driver remains third in the general standings – an unexpected result by his own admission.