COMA TAKES VICTORY IN DESERT CHALLENGE
Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma sealed an early victory in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge on Thursday after organisers cancelled the final scheduled stage.
A sandstorm had made support for the riders impossible. Coma’s win also lays the foundation stone in his bid to secure his seventh world championship title.
Coma wrapped up the win thanks to an 11 minutes 55 seconds lead at the end of Wednesday’s Stage Four. It was his eighth win at this event.
“They had to suspend the stage because of the weather,” told Coma. “This meant that we returned to Abu Dhabi on the road. The truth is that the conditions were bad.
“I am happy and proud to have achieved this eighth victory in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. It was very important to continue in this way, especially after the win in the Dakar. We have picked up a lot of points for the championship and now it’s time to rest and think about the next round in Qatar.”
The rally, the opening round of the 2015 FIM Cross Countries Rally World Championship, saw the top four places go to KTM riders.
© RallyZone Bauer/Barni
Coma’s teammate Sam Sunderland was second.
It was a good result for Sunderland who took second in the first two stages and moved from third overall to second when Coma’s main rival Paulo Goncalves (Honda) experienced technical difficulties in Stage Four.
KTM support rider Pablo Quintanilla completed the podium.
KTM factory rider Ruben Faria was fourth.
While HRC’s Joan Barreda and Paulo Goncalves – winners of stages two and three – ran into trouble, it was rally rookie Ricky Barbec who delivered Honda’s best result with fifth.
“Overall the whole rally was a great experience and I learned a lot,” said Brabec. “I hope to come back and race a lot more and get better and better. I can’t thank the Team HRC guys enough for letting me come out and ride their Honda CRF450 RALLY.
Round two of the 2015 FIM World Cross Country Rallies Championship takes place in Qatar from April 19-24.