COMA & VILADOMS FINISH 1-2 AND SECURE KTM´S 13TH SUCCESSIVE TITLE!
Red Bull KTM factory rider Marc Coma coasted into Valparaiso, Chile, on Saturday afternoon to pick up his fourth individual Dakar title and to secure KTM’s thirteenth title in this most toughest of rallies. Factory teammate Jordi Viladoms made it a memorable day for the Austrian manufacturer by finishing second overall.
It was perhaps Marc Coma’s finest victory in his Dakar career as he led the overall standings from Stage Five. He completed the thirteenth stage, near 9,000 km course in 54 hours 50 minutes and 53 seconds, almost two hours ahead of second placed Viladoms.
Having to lead from the front for more than half of the rally was also a tribute to Coma’s skills as a rider and tactician and is testament to his physical and mental strength. He completed the rally with three stage wins, four second-place finishes and three thirds.
Coma described his Dakar experience as “an extreme and grueling Dakar” and dedicated the win to “my friend Kurt Caselli”. Caselli, part of the Red Bull KTM Factory team was killed in a race accident in November. “Without the right people behind me it would have been impossible to win. We have worked very well throughout the race and also before. Last year I went through a very difficult situation not being able to compete because of injury and I came back to win the race. I think this says a lot about the people I have around me. I am very proud of this victory. What was key to winning the Dakar was not to make any mistakes.”
Coma, who has been a KTM factory rider since 2003, first won in Africa in 2006. He then repeated his success in 2009 and 2011 after the Dakar was relocated to South America. He did not compete in 2013 because of injury.
Understandably, going into the final stage with a massive lead, Coma took it easy in the final stage, finishing in eighteenth place. However the main focus for the factory team was whether Jordi Viladoms was going to be able to finish second.
Going into Stage Thirteen he was challenged for the podium spot by Olivier Pain and Cyril Despres but his sixth place proved more than enough to give him second place on the podium. French rider Pain joined KTM’s two Spanish riders on the podium in overall third.
Viladoms, who said after the race that he was “overwhelmed and over the moon” with his result was drafted back into the team after several years away and his second place finish was a personal best for the Dakar veteran.
KTM can also be well pleased with its two officially supported riders, Jakub “Kuba” Przygonski of Poland and South African Riaan van Niekerk. They finished a very strong sixth and twelfth in the final overall rankings. Eight of the top fifteen finishers were on KTM motorcycles!
The victory in the Dakar 2014 and KTM’s thirteenth title was, as Red Bull KTM Team Manager Alex Doringer explains, very much a team effort: “The competition is getting tougher and that is a win for the sport, but basically we did what we always do. We work hard. We prepare our KTM 450 RALLY bikes in the best way.
The first few days were very intense for the riders and the team as we all traveled a lot of distance with very little sleep. But we managed to get a small gap ahead, and Marc did an excellent job, especially as I believe this to have been the most difficult Dakar since it moved totally to South America.
The terrain in Bolivia was tough, especially on the tires with many gravel roads. It was a marathon stage, and despite new things being exciting, it was technical, the navigation was tough, and surviving this was really important. All of the riders work all year for this race, and Marc has done a fantastic job with the new bike, which he had a lot of input in, and his experience really has shown for this victory.
Jordi was not in an easy position to jump in to race, and we wanted to bring him to the team after losing our good friend Kurt Caselli as a friend to help with team morale due to his good character. He has worked so hard and while we knew he is a very talented rider, he has really paid us back for our faith in him, so I’m pumped with his result.
Unfortunately Ruben crashed, which was a disappointment after last year’s success, but as we know at any point something can happen in the Dakar; I’m just happy nothing major happened to him and the same also for Chaleco, who is so passionate about this race.
Despite that, overall we’re very happy, as the bikes have performed very well, which is testament to the work Stefan Huber and all of our team of technicians have done. I am very glad we had the support of Mr Pierer, Pit Beirer and Heinz Kinigadner as they made it happen to produce the new bike, and their passion motivates us.
We also must thank the R&D department with Philipp Habsburg, Gerald Kiska and his team, and everybody has worked so hard for this. I would like to thank Broadlink for the communications help in the rally to make this job easier, and I think we can be proud that KTM has kicked off 2014 in such a positive way. Thanks to all of our partners and support, as this is very important for us and this win is very special, as for me it is a honour towards our good friend Kurt Caselli.”
Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsport Manager): “First of all we are just so happy and must congratulate Marc, because he’s shown he’s the strongest rally rider in the world and did a fantastic job to win the Dakar again. In the same moment I must thank everyone’s efforts in this incredibly tough race, while underlining the hard work from the team supporting Marc, who did a fantastic job.
Everyone has worked so hard to build a new bike under such a short time pressure, and the competition has been tough, with more brands taking the race seriously. However, with our experience, a strong team and the best riders we managed to win again.
I would also like to congratulate Jordi. We have worked with him in the past, and while he has always had the speed, he hasn’t always been so consistent. He did a great job this year, and maybe as he’s older with a little more experience, with the right bike and team he was able to bring everything together to be a strong contender in one of the most challenging races in the world.
He came in very late, with no time to prepare properly with us, but he was at the top level in his own race, as well as an important, but great support for Marc. He made the team stronger. We lost our other riders Chaleco and Ruben very early in the race, but we are thankful that all of our riders have come home safely.”
The 2014 Dakar also represented a return to its roots in terms of levels of toughness that saw only 78 bikes of the original field of 196 starters in the final Stage Thirteen. Riders traveled around 8700 km during the 13 stages, including more than 5,000 in timed specials.
Results Dakar 2014, Stage Thirteen
La Serena to Valparaiso – 378 km liaison, 157 km special = 535 km
1. Joan Barreda (ESP), Honda, 1:59:44 h
2. Olivier Pain (FRA), Yamaha, +40 sec
3. Helder Rodrigues (POR), Honda, +1:23 min
4. Juan Pedrero (ESP), Sherco, +1:35
5. Cyril Despres (FRA), Yamaha, +2:30 (5 min penalty)
6. Jordi Viladoms (ESP), KTM, +3:31
9. Kuba Przygonski (POL), KTM, +5:16
10. David Casteu (FRA), KTM, +7:20
11. Ivan Jakes (SVK), KTM, +8:05
12. Stefan Svitko (SVK), KTM, +8:18
18. Marc Coma (ESP), KTM, +10:53
Final Standings after 13 of 13 stages
(total of 8734 km, including 5,228 km of timed special)
1. Coma, 54:50:53 h (15 min penalty)
2. Viladoms, +1:52:27 h (15 min penalty)
3. Pain, +2:00:03 (15 min penalty)
4. Despres, +2:05:38 (1:05:30 h penalty)
5. Rodrigues, +2:11:09
6. Przygonski, +2:31:46
9. Svitko, +3:50:10 (1 h penalty)
10. Casteu, +3:58:09 (30 sec penalty)
11. Jakes, +4:19:35 (1 h penalty)
12. Van Niekerk, +5:33:38
Sign up for KTM Results Service here