Santa Teresa Gallura (Olbia-Tempio). As predicted, Marc Coma won the 20th Rally di Sardegna, third event of the Cross-Country Rally World Championship, which ended today in Santa Teresa Gallura in the province of Olbia-Tempio. The Catalan of KTM Repsol, reigning world champion and winner of the last edition of the Dakar, is once again the winner of the Sardinian Rally after last year’s victory. It’s the first time that a foreign pilot wins the Rally di Sardegna twice. With an advantage of 3’15″845, Coma preceded the four time winner of the Rally di Sardegna, the Italian Matteo Graziani, also on KTM .
The Spaniard made a great show of force. After two quiet days in Latium, he started to show his strength in the third stage, Cagliari-Gavoi. He did not lose his composure even when Graziani took over top spot of the overall classification for a day. There’s no doubt the Spaniard deserved to win, confirming to be the number one in the cross-country rally world. However, Matteo Graziani was not less than him. The expert pilot of “Il Team” never gave up. The gap of a little more than three minutes is definitely acceptable for him. Third step of the podium for the French David Casteu with his KTM 525. Protagonist during the first days, he then gave way to his main competitors of this Rally, ending with a delay from Coma of 4’13″301. The third place allows the French to be in command of the world ranking list, right before Marc Coma.
Among the Italians, in addition to Graziani, excellent performance for Paolo Ceci with his Aprilia RVX which made its debut at this world cup. A more than respectable fourth place for Ceci with a delay of 6’30″729, but just two minutes from the podium. Great test also for Mauro Saint with the TM, fifth with a delay of 17’36″522, right in the middle of a series of powerful KTMs. Among the first ten also the Spanish Isidre Esteve Pujiol KTM, among the favourites at the start also because engaged in winning points for the world ranking list where he was second with Coma thanks to his victory in the Rally of Tunisia.
Seventh place for Andrea Mancini and his Husqvarna, eight place for the Norwegian Ullevalseter, ninth for the Chilean Lopez Contardo and tenth place for the Sardinian Luca Manca who went close to the dream of ending in the seventh place for two stages. For him a gap of 28’37″32 from Coma. Always among the Sardinian pilots, it’s worth mentioning the 19th place of Maurizio Sanna Cocco, with a delay of 1 hour 25’29″ and the 25th of Enrico Montalbano with a delay of 2 hours and 23′. But for an amateur completing the race among such world champions is already a victory.
MARC COMA: “Now that the race is over it would be easy to say that everything went smoothly. In fact, it didn’t, also because the Italians are really strong. Casteu and Graziani really gave me a hard time, particularly in the first part of the rally. However, I reached my goal. These points are fundamental for the world cup because I’m only few points behind Casteu. Moreover, this is the second time that I win in this beautiful island, which is a bit Catalan. This is another important satisfaction.”
MATTEO GRAZIANI: “The second place satisfies me also because in these insidious races you always run the risk of falling down and going back home with nothing. All things considered, the bike did its job fine. I’m only sorry I could have made the most out of some specials. I would not have won maybe but I would have finished with a minor gap.”
DAVID CASTEU: “It was my first time in Sardinia. So I’m very happy with the result. I was in the lead in the first day. IÂ didn’t have many problems. I’m always in the lead of the world classification and that’s a lot. It’s time to focus now on the next world fight in Morocco.”
LUCA MANCA: “The tenth place is ok even if I’m not completely satisfied with it. I should have attacked more in some specials. Ok, I won one but, as I said, I was hoping in something more.Now I will train well for my next goal: the Dakar. Even if I will participate as a private, I want not only to make it till the end of that back-breaking race but also to reach a good place, even if the big champions will be present at the Dakar, like here in Sardinia. As a Sardinian pilot I’m happy of the success of this race which promotes the name of Sardinia all over the world.”