Coma Wins 6th Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

2012 Cross Country Rally Raid World Championship

For the sixth time, MRW Repsol KTM’s Marc Coma won the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Round 1 of the 2012 Cross Country Rally Raid World Championship.

The challenge was rightly named, considering it took riders over 1240 miles, with 944 of those timed, over five days.

MRW says: “Coma’s win came about from a combination of talent in navigating the desert and an impeccable strategy. Starting from far back in the opening stage, he was strong in the first special stage and took the first day initiative.

“He then ensured a favorable starting position for day three, which was key in such a short race as the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. The MRW rider was able to maintain his advantage and control the race, winning this morning’s fifth special stage.”

The final stage on Friday took Coma and the remaining riders 226 miles, beginning with a eight-mile run, a 178-mile timed section, and a final 39-mile section to the finish line.

As for Coma’s total time, he completed the 2012 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in 20 hour, 33 minutes and 355 seconds. Coma’s final time was almost ten minutes quicker than second placed Joan Barreda and twenty quicker than third placed Paulo Gonçalves.

This was also Coma’s fourth consecutive Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge victory; he has now won the race six out of the eight times it was held – 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. During the 2005 edition, Coma finished second, and in 2008 he finished 17th following a breakdown.

Coma will now prep for the second round of the 2012 Cross Country Rally Raid World Championship, the Sealine Cross-Country Rally at Qatar April 15-21.

Marc Coma
(MRW Repsol KTM 450 Rally) says: “I am very happy with how things went, right from the first day. Despite today’s stage being the last, it was a special stage of 280km and it was difficult maintaining concentration. You have to focus on getting to the end without any problems. I tried to keep my pace up but without taking any unnecessary risks. Thankfully it was a rally in which everything went our way.

“We were able to avoid any issues and things went exactly as we had planned. When things follow your strategy you are grateful when in the end it goes your way, because it was certainly a tough rally for everyone. The heat and the difficulty of the dunes made it a challenge, as did the high level of our rivals. In as short a rally as this one, small errors are magnified -that’s why I am so happy that everything went perfectly.”

2012 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: Stage Five Results:

1. Marc Coma 3:07:55

2. Joan Barrreda +00:02:59

3. Jakub Przygonski +00:09:23

4. Paulo Gonçalves +00:11:59

5. David Casteu +00:12:48

2012 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge: Final Overall Results:

1. Marc Coma 20:33:35

2. Joan Barrreda +00:09:33

3. Paulo Gonçalves +00:20:24

4. Rubén Faría +00:23:03

5. Jordi Viladoms +00:27:25