Spaniard Marc Coma became the worthy victor of the 2011 Dakar after wrapping up the prestigious race with a fifth place finish of the final stage. The factory KTM rider secured five stage victories over the last two weeks and now has three Dakar titles to his name.
Coma finished the race 15m 04s ahead of long time rival Cyril Despres. His win gives KTM another Dakar victory and the Austrian manufacturer has now won ten consecutive titles.
Coma said: "Staying focused was essential so I did focus on my riding. It was the only way to win. What was really tough was that I could not let my guard down, not even for a second. When a tough stage was ending, the next one was even tougher. We all know that a Dakar is a difficult race but this year it was particularly difficult. This victory is the reward of all the hard work, the reward of many years and a lot of tensions over the last few days. It is the bonus you get for steering right and for so many sacrifices over the years."
Three time Dakar winner, Despres lamented the mistakes and subsequent ten minute penalty earlier in the race.
He said: "I made some mistakes, they were two small mistakes but they held some heavy consequences," he said. "This special is different if you are in first place as it was the case last year... then you want the race to be shorter. When you are second, you would want the race to be longer. But anyway, the feeling of finishing a Dakar is always nice especially here with all the people welcoming you. I am sad I could not do better. I have raced 11 Dakar, won three and been on the podium eight times. One more would have been great. But I just could not make any better."
Yamaha man Helder Rodrigues finished second on the stage and as a result secured a place on the podium after Aprilia rider Francisco Lopez suffered brocken rear suspension in the final KM of the race.
The bitterly disappointed Chilean said: “It was unbelievable. Thirty kilometers before the finish and the suspension link was broken, and I crossed the line pulled by Alain Duclos. These are things that happen in the Dakar. Now, we have to forget it and focus in the evolution of the bike and what we can do next year.”
Stage 13 Results
1, Frans Verhoeven, Belgium, BMW
2, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha at 00:05
3, Jean De Azevedo, Brazil, KTM, 26:04 at 00:05
4, Cyril Despres, France, KTM, at 00:44
5, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM at 2:16
6, Henk Knuiman, Netherlands, KTM, 2:47
7, Juan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 3:05
8, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM 3:51
9, Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM, 4:38
10, Miran Stanovnik, Slovenia, KTM, 5:16
Final Overall Results
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM
2, Cyril Despres, France, KTM, at 15:04
3, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, 1:40:20
4, Chaleco Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, 2:09:45
5, Juan Pedrero, Spain, KTM at 3:07:03
6, Pal Anders Ullevalseter, Norway, KTM at 3:32:56
7, Jean De Azevedo, Brazil, KTM, 3:59:38
8, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM, at 4:13:01
9, Jacek Czachor, Poland, KTM at 9:38:41
10, Henk Knuiman, Netherlands, KTM 6:14:46