COMA CHASES SECOND WIN IN FIM 2012 RALLY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Hot on the wheels of his win in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, KTM’s Marc Coma this week hopes to power his KTM 450 rally bike to his second victory in Round 2 of the FIM World Rally Championship.
But while 3 x Dakar winner Marc Coma is no stranger to riding in the desert sands, the Qatar event, the Sealine Cross-Country Rally, is breaking new territory. Riders start with a ceremonial opening on Monday then embark on the serious business of a short 11 km timed super special stage on Tuesday. The first of four desert legs begins on Wednesday with the longest of 365 km as Stage 3. The rally finishes on Saturday after riders have completed 1340 km in the challenging dunes and the same intense heat, often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius that they experienced in the Desert Challenge. Riders will race against the clock for 1241 km of their journey.
Coma, who again rides with KTM factory teammate Ruben Faria of Portugal, comes with excellent credentials. While he placed third in last year’s four round championship, he did take maximum points in three rallies but failed to make points in the final round, ceding the title to Helder Rodrigues of Portugal while KTM rider Jakub Przygonski of Poland was second.
That Coma is feeling comfortable on his KTM 450 Rally bike was clear when he took his fourth consecutive and sixth overall title in the Desert Challenge. He rode his usual masterly race taking three of the five desert stages and applying his usual wily tactics to ensure he was on top on the final day. Now the Spanish rider has pledged to follow up that success in Qatar but he does admit that it is a ‘totally new challenge’.
Coma will be pushed hard by other leading KTM riders including Faria, who was fourth in the Desert Challenge, Spain’s Jordi Viladoms and Gerard Farres and Czachor of Poland, all of whom are capable of a top finish.
But ahead of Round 2 Coma said he was in high spirits and very motivated. “There are a few unknowns for us, because this is a new country for me and a desert in which I have never ridden before. We will have a harder terrain here, with more rocks and the need to be alert from the start, because it is a very short race and there is no margin for making up for mistakes. We are going to have to push hard from the start”.