The following is a press release from KTM...
KTM factory rider Marc Coma of Spain rode an almost faultless rally on the island of Sardinia to conquer the Sardinia Rally for 2010 allowing him to switch his No. 2 plate to the coveted No. 1 for the race next year.
Cyril Despres, his eternal rival at the apex of rally sport, finished third overall.
The Spanish rider, onboard a KTM 530 EXC won three out of five stages and sailed home 11 minutes ahead of second placed Andrea Mancini of Italy. KTM factory rider Despres, like Coma a multiple Dakar winner, made a huge push on the last day to win the stage and snap third place on the podium. He missed the second step on the podium by just 15 seconds. Overall it was an excellent result for the Austrian-made sports motorcycles with 10 of the top 20 riders on KTM machines.
Despres rides with injured arm
Despres, who won here last year, was hampered in the rally by a deep cut on his forearm, which needed seven stitches. He admitted that it had been painful and that it had been a tough week on the bike. "It has been a hard few five days for me, with my injured arm causing me more than a few problems. And it is clear my performance suffered as a result. This morning however, with Jordi (Viladoms) just a few seconds ahead of me and Mancini not that far ahead in second I decided to bite the bullet and open the gas. For sure my arm hurt but the result was worth the pain
Unseasonal rain in Sardinia
The early part of the rally saw less than perfect conditions with unseasonal heavy rain and very heavy tracks that added another dimension of difficulty on the ride that crisscrossed the picturesque Italian island. Even on the penultimate day, clouds were low and so were the temperatures with conditions that even created problems for world class riders like Coma. "I got lost three times but each time I quickly realized my mistake. Riding alone and opening the piste, it was difficult to judge how I was doing compared to the others
Despres also had his difficulties in Stage Four. "I was having a great day and pulled back two or three minutes on marc at the refueling. Then I lost all that at the end when I made a mistake with the road book;" he commented.
The Magnificent Seven and Coma's charge Tim Trenker all finish
Despres also went to the rally with a team of amateurs dubbed the Magnificent Seven who came from countries as far afield as Canada and Guatemala. With Cyril's mentoring, the seven KTM riders all completed the entire rally unscathed in what was surely a memorable experience. "If I am satisfied with my final position I am delighted with how it worked out with our amateur team,At the beginning of the week nobody knew each other, but by the end we were all firm friends. The atmosphere was really great and even better all seven made it to the end. The only problem we have now is that they all want to come back and do another rally!
Coma also took KTM-UAE rider Tim Trenker under his wing and after tackling very contrasting terrain to the deserts he rides in the UAE, he finished the rally in 43rd.
Final Results Sardinia Rally
1. Marc Coma, Spain, KTM 530 EXC, 15:08'27.77
2. Andrea Mancini, Italy, Husqvarna, 15:19'29.01
3. Cyril Despres, France, KTM 530 EXC, 15:20'57.13
4. Jordi Viladoms, Spain, Husqvarna, 15:20'59.91
5. Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, 15:24'25.67
6. M. Graziani KTM 530 EXC 15:29'01.78
7. P. Ceci, Beta 15:30'34.22
8. D. Casteu, Sherco 450 15:33'24.05
9. A. Zanotti Aprilia 450 15:43'18.29
10. J. Przygonski, KTM 530 EXC 15:46'29.19