2012 Dakar Rally Interview
At 35-years old, MRW Red Bull KTM’s Marco Coma arrived in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, ready to contest for his fourth Dakar title.
The 2012 Dakar Rally, which took riders almost 5,600 miles through Argentina, Chile and Peru, was Coma’s 10th participation in the world’s “toughest” race. And up until the final stages of the Dakar, the Spaniard was a candidate for victory.
But he had some issues, most notably a navigation mistake in the first half of the race compounded by a penalty for a second-engine change due to a gearbox failure during the penultimate (13) stage.
Although his efforts were huge, Coma finished second behind his KTM teammate/rival, Cyril Despres, who took his fourth Dakar victory Sunday.
Following are Coma’s thoughts on the outcome of 2012 Dakar.
Q. What is your assessment of this 2012 Dakar?
Marc Coma (MRW Red Bull AMV KTM 450 Rally) says: “I think the overall assessment is positive. We competed well and kept the winning options until the end, despite being behind a lot of the race. There is also the marshal’s decision, difficult to understand, of giving back to Cyril [Despres] the time he lost the day of the problems. But apart from that, I think we did a very good race.”
Q. Second overall position, five stage wins… Your aim was victory but, what do you think about the result?
Marc Coma says: “The objective was to win, but if you analyze the results, you can see that finishing second, win five stages and, above all, the race we did as a whole, I think we can be very happy.”
Q. The mechanical failures are always something to take into account, it hurts more if they arrive the last day?
Marc Coma says: “We already had it difficult to win the Rally, because it was a complicated stage, with a lot of kilometers of dunes when I had to open track, but it is true that it makes you feel bad not being able to fight until the end, as we had during the whole rally. It is part of the game and in the Dakar the mechanical side is very important.”
Q. What was the toughest thing of this edition?
Marc Coma says: “I think the fact that in some moments I had the feeling I was fighting against many factors.”
Q. How demanding was this edition’s route?
Marc Coma says: “At the beginning of the rally, in Argentina, it was very tough due to the weather conditions: we had 50ºC and the stages were very broken due to the rain of the previous days. In Chile we found a terrain we are more used to and everyone knew more or less what to expect. Finally, Peru surprised us for the toughness of the route. I think nobody expected the difficulties we had in the last days.”
Q. How did you see Pedrero and what happened when he had to retire?
Marc Coma says: “I am very happy with the job done by Joan [Pedrero]. In the end, a mechanical failure left him out, but I think he is a crucial piece of the team. The fact that he did not finish was a setback, because the ideal thing is to have his support until the end.”