Marc Coma will compete from next Sunday in the Sardinia Rally —second-to-last round of the World Championship and the only one taking place in the "old world"—, which features five stages and 1500 kilometres and will finish on Thursday, June 28th. The Repsol rider arrives to this third round of the season in the lead of the overall standings, 14 points ahead the second —Rubén Faría— and with a chance to secure the Championship.
After achieving two victories in the two first rounds of the World Championship —Abu Dhadi Desert Challenge and Sealine Cross-Country Rally—, Marc Coma will try to do the same at the Italian island, where he has won five times —2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011—. This year's edition of the Sardinia Rally will be held a month before its usual date and for five days it will follow a route through an area that had never been part of it until this year. The Repsol rider will try to be the fastest in completing the demanding 1500 kilometres, 825 of them timed, that follow a circular route starting —on Sunday 24th— and ending —on Thursday 28th— in San Teodoro.
The third round of the Championship, which he will face on a KTM 450 EXC-F, will have the added difficulty of a marathon stage in the second day, that will make things even more complicated for the riders, that will be forced to face the following stage without mechanical service. A round where Coma will have as his main rivals the riders that follow him in the World Championship overall standings, Rubén Faría, Jakub Przygonski and Paulo Gonçalves, as well as his rival par excellence in the last few years at the Dakar, Frenchman Cyril Després, who was second a year ago in this very same round behind the Repsol rider.
With an advantage of 14 points in the overall standings, a new victory will secure the fifth World Championship title for the rider from Avia before competing in the last round, which will take place next September in Egypt. To secure it, Portugal's Rubén Faría would have to be out of the podium in Sardinia and Poland's Jakub Przygonski should not finish in second or better.
Marco Coma: “After achieving two good results in the first rounds of the World Championship, I face this new round with a good motivation. It is the last race of the first part of the season and I want to do well there. The Sardinia Rally is a special race, with an Enduro bike and short distances. Due to its features and being very different from the ones we are used to, it will probably be one of the most difficult rounds. In these short rallies, tactics become very important.
Sardinia has an unusual navigation. A mistake in that area could be crucial, so that might be the key of the race. Moreover, this year there is no prologue stage. That means the starting order is already established. That doesn't benefit us too much, because we will be third to start and most of the riders will start behind. One of the most important stages will be the marathon, where we have to be very careful with the mechanics, as a problem would complicate the race a lot”.