Marc Coma and Cyril Despres continued their dominance on Stage 13 of the 2009 Dakar rally, with Coma keeping an impressive overall lead over fellow factory KTM rider Despres, who notched up another stage win just before the riders head for Buenos Aires.

The organisers of the event, the ASO, announced yesterday evening that stage 13 had been shortened due to terrible conditions on the first part of the leg, made impassable after the recent heavy rain. So the riders had to do a liaison of 364km before passing the CP4 at 200 metres and then tackling the special of 220km. At the end of the special there was a liaison of 47km to the bivouac, installed in the outskirts of C?rdoba.

"It was a short special, just 220km, but it was a demanding ride," said Coma, who finished just 1min 45secs behind Despres. "The truth is that it was not easy because at some points there was mud and we did not have a lot of traction. But on the other hand there was not much navigation and I tried to find my own pace, forgetting about my important safety margin."

Coma heads into the final stage with a 1hr 28min 3sec advantage over Despres, but is taking no chances.

"Clearly, going into the last stage, I have a good position, but this is very different from the previous Dakar where it was practically an excursion on the final stage to the Pink Lake," he stressed. "Tomorrow we will have a proper stage and so I need to stay concentrated. We have learnt from what happened in 2007 and won't make the same mistake again..."

In 2007 Coma, who looked a sure winner going into the final stage of the Dakar in Africa then crashed and had to withdraw, leaving the glory to Despres.

The final special of the 2009 Dakar is expected to be very fast, across tracks on flat ground very similar to those on the first two stages, and so once again tyres may be the most important factor; care will be needed when making the selection. The riders have a liaison of 224km at the start and then a special of 227km, finally a long liaison of 341km to the finish in Buenos Aires.

Argentina-Chile Dakar 2009 - Positions on SS13:

1. Cyril Despres KTM 2hrs 33m 35s
2. Marc Coma KTM +0hrs 1m 45s
3. Davide Fretigne Yamaha +0hrs 2m 37s
4. Jordi Viladoms KTM +0hrs 3m 52s
5. David Casteu KTM +0hrs 3m 55s

Argentina-Chile Dakar 2009 - Positions after SS13:

1. Marc Coma KTM 50hrs 26m 50s
2. Cyril Despres KTM +1hrs 28m 03s
3. Davide Fretigne Yamaha +1hrs 34m 47s
4. David Casteu KTM +2hrs 18m 23s
5. Helder Rodriges KTM +2hrs 27m 17s



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