Marc Coma held on to his lead over the last stage to win the 2011 Dakar 15’04 ahead of eternal rival Cyril Despres (Red Bull KTM). There was however a major podium upset when Chaleco Lopez’s suspension broke just kilometres from the end, handing third place to the Portuguese rider Helder Rodrigues. Cyril’s team mate Ruben Faria finished in 8th place.
“I came here with the firm intention of repeating last year’s win and so anything less is bound to me a disappointment. Having said that, my 2011 Dakar was far from being a negative experience. I rode to the best of my ability and my speed and navigation were a match for my ambitions. The bike also performed superbly – to take the first two places on the bike’s Dakar debut is a quite remarkable achievement and a credit to KTM and their technicians. Much less positive was the 10 minute penalty I received early on in the event. The fact that I didn’t lose the time out on the piste makes it all the harder to digest. That and the navigation error that I made while pushing hard to make up that lost time were the only mistakes throughout the race but they were enough to push me off the top spot. Bravo to the winner and to the organisers for laying on a great race and a big thank you to my team, KTM and all my sponsors for their unstinting support.”
Pictures: Red Bull