2012 Dakar Rally Final ResultsThe 2012 Dakar Rally presented many challenges to the motorcycle competitors, taking the two-wheel pilots almost 5,600 miles from Mal Del Plata, Argentina, through Chile to the finish line in Lima, Peru.
The rally race, coined as the “toughest race in the world,” challenged riders for 15 days straight, with only one day of rest.And it all ended Sunday in Lima, with a well-known name taking the coveted title – Cyril Despres.After playing a cat-and-mouse game with his rival and fellow KTM teammate Marc Coma, the Frenchman Despres ended taking his fourth Dakar title by an impressive 53 minutes and 20 seconds over the Spaniard Coma.But it wasn’t only a huge victory for the Red Bull KTM 450 Rally rider; with Despres’ 2012 title, KTM now has 11 consecutive Dakar Rally victories, with the last seven arriving from Despres (4) and Coma (3).Despres’ first Dakar victory arrived in 2005, and he repeated the performance in 2007, 2010 and this year. As for Coma, he won the Dakar Rally in 2006, 2009 and 2011.Despres and Coma had an epic battle right from the first stage of 2012 Dakar, but Coma had some major issues during the penultimate stage Saturday; due to gearbox issues on his MRW Red Bull AMV KTM 450 Rally, he finished over 13 minutes behind Despres.Coma was able to get the KTM back to the bivouac, but had some navigational issues and then dealt with a huge penalty.KTM reports: ” A new Dakar rule in 2012 penalizes riders 15 minutes for the first change of engines and 45 minutes for the second. As the factory team had decided to change out both engines in the lead riders bikes one stage into the second half of the rally this meant that when Coma’s engine was changed a second time he was given another 45 minutes penalty, effectively handing the title to his teammate.”The final stage Sunday only had an 18-mile special, and although Despres finished 10th (3:51) behind stage-winner Pal Anders Ullevalseter, also on a KTM, he already had the victory in the bag due to Coma’s penalty. Coma would finish Stage 14 in second, 1:08 behind Ullevalseter.Cyril Despres (Red Bull KTM 450 Rally Dakar) says: “Today we won and it’s simply fantastic. 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.”Marc Coma (MRW Red Bull AMV KTM 450 Rally Dakar) says: “I finished second in what was a difficult rally. I gave it my all every single day. I wish to congratulate Cyril. He’s the champion. But I’m going to work hard to try and win again next year. If we keep alternating… it should be my turn! But first I have to work.”Finishing third overall in 2012 Dakar Rally was Yamaha’s Helder Rodrigues.Helder Rodrigues (Yamaha 450 Rally Dakar) says: “Making it to the end of a Dakar is always terrific. So finishing on the podium is simply incredible. There are two great riders, Marc and Cyril, and they’re tough nuts to crack.“I lost 20 minutes in stage 4 and 20 more two days later. I was 40 minutes back, so I knew catching up with them would be hard. Winning the Dakar requires perfect preparation all year round and making sure everything goes well during the race. I’ll try and find the solution to be as good as they are. I need a bit more of everything, especially money to build a strong structure.”As for KTM, the Austrian-based motorcycle company has now won the Dakar Rally every year since 2001, with the exception of 2008 when it was canceled because of security threats. In the 2012 edition, eight of the top 10 finishers and 15 of the top 20 rode KTM machines.2012 Dakar Rally: Overall Motorcycle Results:
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.