It’s only a couple of weeks before the start of the 30th edition of the Dakar Rally in Lisbon. Riders all over the world are preparing themselves for the toughest and ultimate off-road race.
Every year the Dakar Rally promises to be longer and harder than last time. But according to the head of the KTM Rally department Hans Trunkenpolz the 30th edition could very well be the toughest Dakar Rally ever.
Trunkenpolz:“ This time of year it’s hectic with the preparations, but we’re on schedule. Our last test was in Dubai, with good results. We’re confident we can win the race, it’s also expected from us, but it still has to happen.”
KTM has the possibility to score the 8th victory in the Dakar. Of the 245 motorcycles competing, 124 are made in Austria. The race will cross Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal. The total number of kilometres is 9.273, of which 5.735 will be ridden against the clock. For the first time in the history of the Dakar Rally, there will be two specials in Morocco where the bikes will follow a separate route from the cars and trucks. Three marathon stages where there will be no assistance available for the riders can make all the difference in the final results.
The KTM factory team includes 6 riders. World Champion Rally-Raid Marc Coma and Cyril Despres are top favourites. New in the team is Chaleco Lopez from Chile. He made his debut on the KTM in Dubai.
Lopez: “ The KTM 690 Rally is a very impressive bike. The speed in the sand and the suspension is incredible. To ride the bike in Dubai was a good experience. What impressed me a lot is the high level of the logistics.”
Dutchman Frans Verhoeven forms the Team Kästle with David Casteu. “After my crash in 2007, my main focus now is to make it to Dakar. Off course I will support the other riders, and I will try to finish as closely to our fastest riders as possible”.
Marc Coma (Team Repsol) lost the Dakar 2007 only two days before the finish. He’s very happy with this season, and the team.
Coma: “We have a hard race in front of us. Navigation will be difficult. With 8 days in Mauretania we can expect some difficult stages. When you make one mistake it’s gone.”
Cyril Despres (Team Red Bull) is expected to be his biggest contender of Marc Coma. Cyril is happy with the job that ASO’s David Castera did preparing the route for 2008. “ Dakar is all about competing with the desert and yourself. Off course I will try to push to the limit. For the next weeks my focus is on my physical training and a few final little tests.”
In Dakar 2008 not only the factory drivers will race the KTM 690 Rally, also many privateers have chosen to race with the 690 Rally. KTM supplies support for many of these riders, who all have the same dream, to reach the Lac rose in Dakar.