KTM is moving closer to a record 13th consecutive Dakar Rally win after three-time winner Marc Coma clinched the ninth stage today.
The Spaniard was at home in the sand today, stretching his overall lead to 40 minutes over Honda rider and countryman Joan Barreda Bort who was second in the Chilean dunes stage.
While five-time winner Cyril Despres put his Yamaha in third position some five minutes behind Coma, he only moved up one place to eighth and is still 2:30hrs behind the leader.
The hopes of the aspiring French Sherco company were dashed today when Alain Duclos had to be towed into the bivouac after valve problems.
Meanwhile, the three remaining Aussies are growing in confidence and strength in the second half of the rally, especially Shane Diener (Yamaha) who has been the best finisher in the past few stages. He was 34th today, moving up six places to 43rd outright.
His fellow countrymen also moved up several outright positions today. Troy O’Connor (KTM) finished 42nd to move up from 44th to 38th while Allan Roberts finished 47th and moved up from 43rd to 41st.