Factory Red Bull KTM rider Marc Coma has won the 2015 Dakar in Buenos Aires today. The 38 year old Spaniard who has been leading the race since stage eight after main rival Joan Barreda hit mechanical problems onboard his HRC Honda.
Coma put in a text book Dakar performance throughout the two weeks, doing just enough to stay in control while showing his true pace to win stages when needed. His factory KTM also performed faultlessly, only a badly worn rear tyre caused him any serious problems on stage two of the race.
Coma’s fifth title makes him one of the most successful ever Dakar racers, drawing level with former bitter rival Cyril Despres. Only Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel has more with six Dakar victories in the bike category.
Coma said: ““I’m happy and proud. As usual it was a gruelling rally. We had to overcome a problem on the second day that slowed us down a bit in the rankings. So from then on we had to change the strategy a little and push to recover that time. We knew that the marathons would be key stages and they were. I am happy with the team and the people we have around us. This fifth win says a lot about all of us. The level was very high and this also makes the win very valuable,”
Paulo Goncalves secured second place in the overall standings with an accomplished two week performance. The Portuguese rider started the race supporting teammate Joan Barreda, but when his challenge ended with mechanical woes, Goncalves set about closing down Coma. The 35 year old closed to within 5m 38s until he was forced to swap an engine – giving him a 15m time penalty which ruled him out of contention.
Goncalves said: “I'm happy to make it here in second place overall. I started the rally in second place, then I fell to third and, in the end, I climbed back up. There was a time when I was within striking distance of Marc Coma because there were hardly five minutes between us, but then I got a penalty for changing my engine. Joan Barreda also pulled off an amazing race and he held the lead until Uyuni. A bit later, I was helped by my teammate Jeremías Israel, who gave me his engine and without whom I'd never made it here to take second place. So this one's for him. And we'll try again next year."
Third place went to Dakar sensation Toby Price. The 27 year old Australian is competing in his fist ever Dakar and in ddition to being on the podium he also won stage 12 of the arduous event.
He said: “Being here in third place is insane! I'm at a loss for words. When I decided to sign up three or four months ago, I was quite nervious, I didn't know what I was getting into. And now I'm on the finish line... happy."
Official HRC Honda rider Laia Sanz made history by finishing ninth in the overall Dakar standings. The multiple women’s enduro and trials world champion showed that she is now a match for the best male Dakar riders in the world.
It was also an epic day for father and son pairing Simon and Llewelyn Pavey. The two men have been pushed to the absolute limit throughout the event, but riding as a team during the second week the KTM riders achieved their dream of a Dakar finish.
From 168 starters, just 79 riders were classified in the overall results with Llewelyn and Simon securing 62nd and 63rd places respectively.
For full insight in to what the Pavey’s went through to make the finish and other Dakar news see MCN out 21 January 2015.
Stage 13 Results
1, Jakes, KTM at 52.06
2, Svitko, KTM at 00.45
3, Price, KTM at 1.07
4, Goncalves, Honda 1.15
5, Coma, KTM, at 3.11
6, Vogels, KTM at 3:36
7, Frans Verhoeven, Yamaha at 4.35
8, Qunitanilla KTM, at 4.52
9, De Soultrait,, Yamaha at 5.54
10, Laia Sanz,, Honda at 7.55
1, Marc Coma, ESP, KTM at 46.03.49
2, Paolo Goncalves, POR Honda at 16.53
3, Toby Price, AUS, KTM at 23.14
4, Pablo Qunitanilla, CHI, KTM at 38.38
5, Stefan Svitko, SVK, KTM at 44.17
6, Ruben Faria, POR, KTM at 1:57.50
7, David Casteu, FRA, KTM at 2:00.14
8, Ivan Jakes, SVK, KTM at 2:18.18
9, Laia Sanz, ESP, Honda at 2:24.21
10, Olivier Pain, FRA, Yamaha 3:09.09