KTM AT THE DAKAR
Who are KTM’s dominant Dakar riders in recent years?
KTM first won the Dakar rally in 2001 and will be going for the company’s thirteenth consecutive victory in 2014 (there was no rally in 2008). In recent years the professional class has been safe the hands of KTM’s factory riders Marc Coma and Cyril Despres, universally recognized as the best in the world. Despres left the factory team after securing his fifth win in 2013, an edition where Coma did not race because of a shoulder injury. Coma, the lead factory rider for KTM in 2014, has three titles to his name.
When did KTM win its first Dakar Rally?
KTM first won the Dakar Rally with Italian Fabrizio Meoni in 2001, who rode a KTM LC4 660 R. Meoni returned in 2002 to take a second victory riding a KTM LC8 950 R. In 2003, Frenchman Richard Sainct won on a KTM LC4 660R. It was his third Dakar victory. The following year he was killed in an accident competing in the Pharaons Rally. In 2004, it was KTM rider Nani Roma of Spain who was first across the line riding a KTM LC4 660 R
When was the start of KTM’s era of domination with Despres and Coma?
2005 was the beginning of a hard fought competition between the riders who have since established themselves as the world’s best – Cyril Despres and Marc Coma. Both ride for KTM factory supported teams. French-born but resident in Andorra, Cyril Despres took his first title in 2005 riding a KTM LC4 660R. The race also claimed the life of Meoni who crashed in Kiffa, Mauritania during the 11th stage of the race and later died of a heart attack. The twelfth stage of the race was canceled out of respect for this 2-time winner. KTM’s Spanish rider Marc Coma was second to Despres laying the foundation for what has become one of the sport’s great rivalries.
The story so far:
- 2005: Despres
- 2006: Coma
- 2007: Despres
- 2008: Rally cancelled
- 2009: Coma
- 2010: Despres
- 2011: Coma
- 2012: Despres
- 2013: Despres (Coma unable to compete because of shoulder injury)
- 2014: ???