Marc Coma, the reigning Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge champion in the bike category
ABU DHABI (UAE). Thursday, April 7, 2011: Marc Coma, the reigning world champion, rubberstamped his two-wheeled superiority today, the enigmatic Spaniard clinching a third consecutive bikes category title in the 2011 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge ? the opening round of the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship and second round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup.
Having led for the majority of the off-road rally, the Spanish KTM Factory Team rider and reigning Dakar Rally champion steered his powerful KTM 450 across the finish line to complete a resounding fifth Abu Dhabi victory in an overall time of 18hours 28minutes.
“It feels really special to take my fifth win here,” said Coma, who outlined the unique event’s vast desert setting. “It’s never easy, especially this year, when there have been some very good riders. I’m really happy for this victory because Abu Dhabi is a fantastic place. I like this rally and I like the people who are involved. We know the desert is really special. The conditions are always hard, with big dunes and soft sand, but it really is fantastic.”
Helder Rodrigues, runner-up of the the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2011.
Coma finished five minutes ahead of Yamaha Factory Team’s Portuguese rider, Helder Rodrigues, on a Yamaha WK-450F, while the Spaniard’s Polish teammate, Jakub Przygonski, finished third on another KTM 450.
After disturbing the head of the field with a pair of stage wins during the 1,570kilometre race, Dubai-based Sam Sunderland, finished 37th overall following the severe mechanical problems that ended his own title tilt on day three. The 21-year old recovered to post the seventh best final day time ? a feat which caught the eye of Coma.
“Sam won two stages and it was a pity that he had some mechanical problems,” said Coma. “But he’s young and I wish all the best for him. He just needs to take it easy - his time will come.”
Further good news for KTM came in the bike category’s Open Production class, where KTM riders clinched top three spots. Poland’s Marek Dabrowski sealed the win, with UAE-resident Tim Trenker notching second after leapfrogging Romania’s Emanuel Gyenes on the final leg.