2013 KTM Racing News
The big news in the world of KTM this week was the departure of Cyril Despres from the newly named Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rally team.
But with the five-time Dakar Rally winning Frenchman’s exit arrived the opening for some new talent on the rally team. And the talent arrived from America – the man who competed on factory KTM motorcycles in US-based SCORE/Baja events for the past 11 years.
KTM reported Wednesday that Caselli not only signed with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rally team, but also extended his contract with the Austrian-based manufacturer for SCORE/Baja events on the FMF/KTM Factory Team. Both contracts will run through 2016.
Besides competing in the Dakar Rally and SCORE/Baja events, Caselli will also race select World Rally Championship rounds to help him prepare for the Dakar event, KTM reports.
Kurt Caselli (Red Bull Factory KTM) says: “I am very excited for the opportunity to sign a multi-year deal with KTM to race a different discipline than I have in the past. It is a new challenge for me that I am excited to take with the people that I consider to be my second family.
“I am also thankful that in addition to signing with KTM for another three-years, I will also be able to keep my main sponsors that have been by my side for the past 10 years. Their loyalty means a lot to me as I take the next step in my career.”
Caselli, 29, raced in the 2013 Dakar Rally, filling in for three-time Dakar Champ Marc Coma who injured his shoulder while prepping at the Morocco Rally. Caselli impressed at the event won by Despres, finishing 31st overall and winning two stages.
Once the Dakar was complete, Caselli was noticed by KTM’s Director of Racing, Pit Beirer. KTM says Caselli was noticed to his “eagerness to learn and ability to quickly adapt to surroundings.”
Together, Beirer and Factory FMF/KTM Team Manager Antti Kallonen, reached an agreement that would allow Caselli to represent the Red Bull KTM Factory World Rally Team for the next three years while also continuing his US based SCORE/Baja racing efforts as a member of the Factory FMF/KTM Team., KTM reports.
Antti Kallonen says: “The entire team is excited for Kurt and I am very thankful that we will be working with the KTM Factory Team in Austria at a closer level. It is always exciting when a U.S. rider can transition successfully into the world rally events.
“We are very proud of Kurt and excited to have him represent our country on a world level. While the Dakar Rally is a big undertaking we will still continue our efforts to capture the SCORE/Baja Series Championship and are grateful to have Kurt as a member of that team.”