Shrinking The Planet – One Ride At A Time

KTM’S Marc Coma Wins Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Spaniard Marc Coma won the 2012 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Friday 6 April 2012.  The KTM Factory rider once again proved he is the supremo in the sand when he took a decisive victory in the first round of the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship.  KTM Factory teammate Ruben Faria finished fourth

After five days powering his KTM 450 Rally bike over tough desert terrain and in extreme summer temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, KTM’s three-times Dakar Rally winner delivered all the necessary ingredients to lift the trophy. Fast on some days, cautious on others to avoid risks, putting on the pressure when it was necessary: Coma applied just the right formula to set himself up for victory. Then on the final leg he delivered all of the above and whatever else that was necessary to underscore that he is not only a sensational rider but also a wily tactician.

Coma oscillated between winning legs and finishing back in the pack for a good start position the following day. On Day Four he finished a cautious eleventh in the special but safeguarded his overall lead of 6.5 minutes. He said that barring something dramatic happening, he felt the team had the win in the bag.

The final day was a high-speed dash through the desert complete with camels on the track as riders headed back to the capital and the ceremonial finish adjacent to the marina from where they first started. On the way Coma managed to accrue another three minutes on his opponents to finish in 20 hours 33 minutes 35, some 9 minutes 33 in front of Spanish rider Joan Barreda. Portugal’s Paulo Goncalves was third. KTM riders took the next three places with Ruben Faria fourth, Jordi Villadoms of Spain in fifth and Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski sixth overall. Przgonski’s ORLEN teammate Marek Dabrowski rode his KTM to victory in the Open Class.

From Husqvarna- From last Sunday until today the first round of the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship took place in the desert of Abu Dhabi. The Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain took part with the Husqvarna TE 449 RR and the riders Joan Barreda and Paulo Gonçalves. Both riders and their bikes had to manage high temperatures of approx. 40° C and the desert of Abu Dhabi with its soft sand and high dunes during the 2000km rally.

At the end the two riders finished 2nd and 3rd in the overall standings. With this performance they proved that the competitors have to keep an eye on the Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain in the future.

The Spaniard Joan Barreda showed from the first leg that his intension was to win the 2012 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. After the 300km special test on the first day he was only 3:35 min behind the leader in 4th position. In leg 2 he was even able to take the lead of the overall standings. From then on it was a battle between Barreda, the newcomer of the Dakar 2012, and the rally legend Marc Coma. At the end Joan finished in a very strong 2nd place.

The other rider of the Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain Paulo Gonçalves also started very strong in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2012 by finishing 5th in the first leg. On day 2 out in the desert he was able to keep this position and to close the gap to the leading riders. The fact that at the end of day 2 the top 5 riders were separated by only 94 seconds showed how tight the fight at the top of the field was. On day 3 Paulo had a crash when jumped into the bike of a fallen competitor behind a dune, but he was able to repair the damage quickly and climb up to 4th position in the overall standings. On the penultimate day Paulo Gonçalves showed why he is called “Speedy Gonçalves” by catching up over 12 minutes to the leaders. This excellent performance put him into third position which he defended successfully on the last day.

The rally was intense and strength sapping but the riders have little time to recover. The next round of the FIM Cross Country Rally World Championship starts in Qatar on April 17, 2012.

For actual article and pictures go to Enduro 360.

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