Despres wins close Dakar Rally

Cyril Despres takes hard-fought victory over KTM team-mate Marc Coma to win the 2012 Dakar Rally
Cyril Despres rode into Lima, Peru on Sunday to seal his fourth career Dakar Rally title.

His factory KTM team-mate Marc Coma finished second overall in what was one of the most epic two-way battles in the Dakar rally's history.

Only minutes had separated the pair going into the penultimate stage, but in the heat of the battle on Friday, Coma made a huge jump and knew he had gearbox problems when he landed.

The Spaniard nursed the bike back to the bivouac, but made a navigational error in the process and this was enough to give his rival the lead he needed.

French-born Despres had previously enjoyed Dakar victory in 2005, 2007 and 2010.

“Today we won and it's simply fantastic,” he said. “This is without a shadow of a doubt the toughest Dakar I've ever raced in. It was difficult physically, but even more psychologically. Challenging yourself every morning and fighting on the course takes its toll on your mind.

“It's not like a 42-kilometer marathon; here, you have to earn your place every morning. All victories are beautiful, but this one is special because it came down to the wire and was decided at the last minute. This was an unimaginable scenario, with the leaders separated by mere seconds. I've done 90 or 85 rallies throughout my life, and this one was the one where I had to fight the hardest. Today will leave its mark on me.”

A new Dakar rule in 2012 penalises riders 15 minutes for the first change of engines and 45 minutes for the second.

As KTM team had already changed both engines in the lead riders' bikes shortly after the halfway mark, meaning that when Coma's engine was changed for a second time due to the gearbox problem he was given another 45 minutes penalty.

For that reason, Despres officially won by 53mins 20sec.

“This battle between Cyril Despres and Marc Coma was one of the tightest and one of the most interesting in the history of the rally,” said KTM's motorsports expert Heinz Kinigadner. “They were virtually wheel on wheel in almost every stage. They both gave everything both physically and mentally and they both deserve to go into the Dakar record books for this great effort.

“It is naturally unfortunate that Marc had some gearbox problems in the penultimate stage and picked up a 45-minute penalty for the engine change. Otherwise their times at the finish line would have been only minutes apart.”

As well as the engine penalty, Coma - who won the rally in 2006, 2009 and 2011 - felt the modified route and re-classification of the eighth stage had cost him dear.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Cyril Despres (KTM) won the 2012 Dakar Rally (M. Maragni/KTM Image)
Marc Coma has conquered the epic rally five times
Official 2011 Roof of Africa DVD
Motocross bike being ridden along a mountain ridge
2012 Dakar Rally
Cyril Despres of KTM wins the 2010 Dakar Rally (Pic: van Oers J.)
Jordi Viladoms - KTM (Pic: van Oers J.)
Jordi Viladoms - KTM (Pic: van Oers J.)
Cyril Despres - KTM (Pic: van Oers J.)
Cyril Despres - KTM (Pic: van Oers J.)
Jordi Viladoms - KTM (Pic: van Oers J.)
Jordi Viladoms - KTM (Pic: van Oers J.)
Marc Coma - KTM (Pic: van Oers J.)
Marc Coma - KTM (Pic: van Oers J.)
Marc Coma - KTM (Pic: van Oers J.)
Marc Coma during 2009 Dakar rally (pic: Chaco A.)
Cyril Despres during 2009 Dakar rally  (pic: Barreira C.)
Marc Coma during 2009 Dakar rally  (pic: Barreira C.)

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Vilas - Unregistered

June 25, 2012 3:11 PM

Also on televison, this caind of races are amyzing for rider and machine..!! This is about what is importante on hower bikes realiability.. Waching this 450cc able to make the Dakar also one engine change is incredible.. I allways was a sportbike fan but defenatly i will change my style.. My last bike was one Aprilia rsv mille but aim now loocking to one realiable 450cc.. Ans i whant some help for guys here.. What bike do you tinck is better to make lets one Baja 1000 race..! choose your favorit on this list.. 1- Suzuki Dr 650 se 2- Suzuki Dr 400E- 3- Honda Xr 650 R. 4- Kawasaki KLX 450f.. 5- Yamaha Wr 450f 6- Yamaha tenere 660.. I know i have other options but on this bikes what you prefer for make one baja 1000???

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