Defending champion Marc Coma of Spain has set the early pace in this year’s Dakar Rally after winning stage two from Santa Rosa de la Pampa to San Rafael in Argentina.
Second in the rally’s opener on Sunday Coma has now put some distance between himself and his main rivals.
The reigning champ has opened up a gap of two minutes and 52 seconds over traditional rival Cyril Despres of France, who was second on the day but lies third overall.
Joan Barreda of Spain rounded off the stage two podium for the bikes.
In the car category Stephane Peterhansel took the overall lead thanks to a second place finish on the day.
The French three-time winner of the cars and six-time winner in the bike class finished 54 seconds off stage winner and title holder Nasser Al Attiyah.
American Robby Gordon made a fine showing to finish third – the Hummer driver is second overall just under two and a half minutes behind Peterhansel.
Poland’s Krzysztof Holowczyc steered his mini to fourth place which has left him in third place in the general standings at two minutes and 33 seconds.