2014 Dakar Rally Pre-Race Interviews
With the 2014 Dakar Rally ready to get underway this Sunday in Rosario, Argentina, KTM has released some rider interviews with its top off-road racing pilots.
All together, the Red Bull KTM Factory team and other motorcycle competitors (a total of 196) will travel 5,427 miles, with 3,248 of those miles timed specials. This will create some of the toughest racing conditions ever at a Dakar Rally.
And one team that will garner much attention is Red Bull KTM Factory, which will field three-time Dakar winner Marc Coma, Ruben Faria, Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez, and Jordi Villadoms. KTM has won the last 11 straight Dakar titles; five of those were with Cyril Despres, who has departed with the team and joined Yamaha.
A day ahead of the 35th edition of Dakar, KTM released some pre-race quotes from the riders as they set out to battle aboard the KTM 450 Rally.
For a preview of Dakar 2014, including a full US TV listings, click here.
Marc Coma (Red Bull KTM Factory 450 Rally): “I’m very happy with the new team structure and with my teammates. I’ve known them for many years and we have a very good feeling in the team. Our team is very professional, very precise and is driven by passion for Dakar and rally sport.
“I think having two marathon stages this year is very positive. It’s like going back to the spirit of the Dakar adventure and it fits the philosophy that riders need to think and to take care of their equipment. We’ll take it one day at a time.
“The competition is getting stronger and that’s healthy for the sport. It was hard for me to miss last year’s race through injury but I’m happy to be back and also with the progress throughout the year. The new (2014 KTM 450 Rally) bike is awesome. I’m completely happy with it and it is capable of delivering a good result.”
Ruben Faria (Red Bull KTM Factory 450 Rally) says: “I’m pleased to be staying with the team and with the new bike and the team structure. Our strategy is to win the Dakar.”
When asked about the passing of teammate Kurt Caselli, he added: “I lost a friend and teammate but this unfortunately happens in the sport that we do. Now we must be professional and focus on the reason we are here, to win the Dakar. Such a thing is always hard to deal with but now we have to shift our focus to the race.”
Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez (Red Bull KTM Factory 450 Rally) says: “I’m feeling strong and comfortable and I’m in the best place. I got a chance to test the bike in Spain a few weeks ago and I’m really happy with it. This is a bike that has the potential and ability to win the Dakar.
“We confirmed this after the Morocco Rally when we saw how the bike performed on technical terrain. When we reach the finish line I would love to be on the podium again in front of my home crowd.”
Jordi Villadoms (Red Bull KTM Factory 450 Rally) says: “I’m elated to be back in the factory team structure because it’s so professional. I haven’t had too much time to test the bike but I’m a professional and I have the ability to quickly adapt to new equipment. “
Alex Doringer (Red Bull KTM Factory Team Manager) says: “We chose our team not only because of the quality of our riders but also because of their character and attitude. When we speak about the competition, we have to say that the Dakar itself is our biggest competitor. This year there are two marathon stages and more than 1000 km extra in special stages. It’s going to be much more demanding.”