2012 Dakar Rally
Following Cyril Despres’ victory at the 2012 Dakar Rally, the Frenchman gave the Austrian-based KTM its 11th consecutive title in the race coined as the “toughest” in the world.
KTM has won every Dakar Rally since 2001, with the exception of 2008 when the event was canceled due to security threats. Despres has won four of those (2005, 2007, 2010, 2012), Marc Coma three (2006, 2009, 2011), Nani Roma (2005), Richard Saintc (2004) and Fabrizio Meoni (2002, 2001).
The 2012 edition was especially kind to KTM, with eight of the top 10 and 15 of the top 20 finishers finishing on KTM motorcycles.
Like the last seven years, the biggest battle in Dakar was between KTM rivals/teammates Despres and Coma.
KTM says: “Both riders set the scene for a two-way competition right from the first stage and remained minutes apart until the penultimate stage on Saturday. Coma won five stages in the 2012 edition and Despres four but it was the turn of the Frenchman to ride in triumph into Lima.”
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.”
The 2012 Dakar Rally took the KTM riders almost 5,600 miles from Mar Del Plata in Argentina, through Chile, to finally finish in Lima, Peru. Along the way they encountered vastly different terrain ranging from the Argentinean pampas to the high Andes, the daunting Atacama Desert of Chile and finally the southern coastal plains and rios of Peru. It was the first time that the rally had included Peru and the first time it represented a dash from the Atlantic coastline to the Pacific
Alex Doringer (Team Manager for KTM’s factory team) says: “The battle between them was amazing,” he said from the finish in Lima, adding the team was also very happy that Johnny Aubert from the KTM Enduro Factory Team finished in overall fourteenth place in his rookie Dakar ride. Johnny rode a standard series model KTM 450 Rally Replica and went into the rally with a mission to learn and enjoy.”
Heinz Kinigadner (KTM Motorsports Expert) says: “This battle between Cyril Despres and Marc Coma was one of the tightest and one of the most interesting in the history of the rally. They were virtually wheel on wheel in almost every stage.
“They both gave everything both physically and mentally and they both deserve to go into the Dakar record books for this great effort. It is naturally unfortunate that Marc had some gearbox problems in the penultimate stage and picked up a 45-minute penalty for the engine change. Otherwise their times at the finish line would have been only minutes apart.”
2012 Dakar Rally: Top Five Overall Results
1. Cyril Despres, France, KTM, 43 hours 28 minutes and 11 seconds
*Fourth Dakar Title for Despres
2. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 53:20
3. Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 1:11:17
4. Jordi Viladoms, Spain, KTM at 1:40:56
5. Stefan Svitko, Slovakia, KTM 1:47:28
6. Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM at 2:11:56
7. Gerard Farres Guell, Spain, KTM at 2:14:22
8. Alessandro Botturi, Italy, KTM at 2:59:04
10. Felipe Zanol, Brazil, KTM at 3:25:56
12. Rubin Faria, Portugal, KTM at 4:13:10
13. Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM at 4:39:09
14. Johnny Aubert, France, KTM at 4:39:39