Repsol rider Marc Coma is victorious for the fourth consecutive year in Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, his sixth victory overall, after winning three of the five stages.
Four-time Cross-Country Rallies World Champion Marc Coma took the opening win of 2012 in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge today. The Repsol rider has now won the last four editions of the event, with six victories in total. A win in the fifth and final stage today sealed the glory Coma, who rode impeccably all week.
Coma had to take on over 2000km during the five-day event, but it was all worth the effort as he triumphed in Abu Dhabi for the sixth time. His previous wins came in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. This year’s event took place over five stages, preceded by a prologue. Strategy and patience were key to Coma’s win, as he managed his advantage with great precision.
A win in stage five made it three from five for Coma, who only experienced small difficulties on the opening stage. Riding a KTM 450, the Spaniard was able to handle the terrain and put up with the high temperatures of the Arab Emirate, extending a final advantage of 9 minutes and 33 seconds over second placed Joan Barreda and taking the top step of the podium for the fourth consecutive year.
The next Cross-Country Rallies World Championship event begins in Qatar from April 17th.
“I am very happy with how things went, right from the first day. Despite today's stage being the last, it was a special stage of 280km and it was difficult maintaining concentration. You have to focus on getting to the end without any problems. I tried to keep my pace up but without taking any unnecessary risks. Thankfully it was a rally in which everything went our way. We were able to avoid any issues and things went exactly as we had planned.
When things follow your strategy you are grateful when in the end it goes your way, because it was certainly a tough rally for everyone. The heat and the difficulty of the dunes made it a challenge, as did the high level of our rivals. In as short a rally as this one, small errors are magnified - that's why I am so happy that everything went perfectly.”
First Round of the Rally World Championship Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM (450 Rally bike) in 20 hours 33 minutes 35 seconds – won by 9 minutes 33
2, Joan Barreda, Spain, Husqvarna
3, Paolo Goncalves, Portugal, Husqvarna,
4, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM
5, Jordi Villadoms, Spain, KTM
6, Jakub Przygonsik, Poland, KTM
9, Matthew Fish, Australia, KTM
10, Paolo Ceci, Italy, KTM
12, Gerard Farres, Spain, KTM
13, Mohammed Balooshi, UAE, KTM
17, Marek Dabrowski, Poland, KTM