Red Bull-backed rider Marc Coma and his team-mate Joan Pedrero placed third and fifth respectively on the first day of round three of the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship...
The third round of the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship began yesterday at San Teodoro, Sardinia, with a 176km timed run to open the event. After the initial two special stages, Marc Coma was third, 1m29s behind day one winner, Alessandro Botturi. Meanwhile, Coma's team-mate and World Championship debutant, Joan Pedrero, was fifth.
Starting from third and twelfth, Coma and Pedrero faced the asphyxiating 40ºC-plus heat of the first stage. The terrain was dry and the dusty surface offered little grip, obliging the competitors to proceed with caution. Both were able to catch up with the rider who set off immediately ahead of them: Coma caught Przygonski and Pedrero latched onto Farrés. Coma made an overtake and claimed third for the day, whilst his teammate was unable to do the same and lost a few seconds in the process, leaving him in fifth.
Two new special stages await the riders tomorrow: The first measures 122km and the second 84km, on a marathon run which will see mechanical care playing a big part. Outside assistance is not permitted until the end of the day.
'It was a good first day.'
"It was a good first day," said Coma. "Starting off in this race is never easy, because you have to find your pace, ride with a different bike and use a very particular navigation system. I set off third, which meant having practically no reference point, and lost a little time when I had to overtake Przygonski.
"If you look at the standings, the riders that are ahead were the later starters, so placing third is very positive. There is a long way to go and the important thing is that we haven’t lost much time; we are third, which is a good position."
Stage 1 Standings
1. A. Botturi - 2:52:53
2. Jordi Viladoms - 2:54:05
3. Marc Coma - 2:54:22
4. Joan Barreda - 2:54:35
5. Joan Pedrero - 2:55:35