Dakar Rally leader Marc Coma has paid tribute to Pascal Terry, the motorcyclist who was found dead on the second stage of the event yesterday.
Coma, who leads the rally by 27 minutes from Jonah Street having won three of the five stages so far, expressed his sorrow at a fellow rider losing his life on the same event, adding that it is a measure of how dangerous the sport can be at times.
The circumstances in which Terry died remains subject to investigation, although Coma admits he doesn't want the Dakar Rally to be scrapped, the Spaniard insisting the switch to Argentina this year has made the event safer.
“The death of a rider was really bad news, things like this are very unpleasant and a real pity. I do not know exactly what happened but I want to express to his family and friends that they have all my support because even though we know that this is a race and a risky sport, every time something like this happens it affects you.
“On the other hand I hope it is not used against the race, which is what has happened other times, and from now on try to not let it happen again.
“Just today in the liaison I was thinking that the tracks were in good conditions, not as broken as in Morocco, and that means it is safer. But obviously zero risks do not exist.”
Looking back at stage five, Coma had Repsol KTM team-mate Jordi Viladoms to thank the Spaniard offered up his own wheel whilst Coma was repairing a puncture, in order for him to complete the stage.
“I got a puncture at kilometre 60, and I have to thank Jordi Viladoms who gave me his wheel when I was repairing my own, another example of the team doing some good work together. I was then able to keep up a good pace until near the end when I had problems with the rear brake.
“That complicated things for me when it came to the dunes. But the important thing is that we finished. It was a very varied special, the first part had a lot of stones, and then there was a zone with navigation, and finally another part with dunes, quite complicated as there was vegetation and the ride was very testing.”