Before the start of the Central Europe Rally, many people were convinced this new rally would offer the best opportunity to finally break the dominance of the KTM Rally bikes.
Short distances, tracks more suitable to enduro bikes and easy navigation. Despite these ingredients KTM choose to race the 690 Rally Bike, and the results proved them right.
Teammanager Hans Trunkenpolz
“We’re more than satisfied with the results, as 8 from 9 in the top 10 placed KTM riders were using the Rally 690. 17’s KTM’s in the top 20 of which 12 are 690 Rally’s say it all. The third place overall for amateur Alain Duclos also showed how close the 690 Rallye Replica is to the Factory bike. Pellicier, Faria and Rodriguez, who had all chosen a 690 for Dakar 2008 will have regretted their change to Yamaha respectively Honda. “
How did the Rally Light perform?
“The fastest times set by Coma and Despres have confirmed the concept is good. The next rally in Brazil which is ridden from 18th to 28th of June all riders in our Factory Team will start on the Rally Light. We only need to do a few minor modifications before the conversion kit will be available for owners of a 690 Rally Replica late this autumn.”
What is your opinion of the first Central Europe Rally (CER)?
“The organization did everything possible to organize a top event in a very short time. The CER has nothing to do with the Dakar rally, you just can’t bring dunes and camels to Hungary. The start in Budapest at the ‘Heroes Square’ with all the fans and great atmosphere was good. The routes will need a lot of attention for the second edition. Especially in Rumania the specials were way too short, with riding times under an hour, and too much enduro-minded. The timed stages should have a minimum length of 300 kilometers, for the CER to distinguish itself from a Baja or Enduro. The organizers have the know-how, but in this short preparation time is was the best they could do.
Media-coverage was good. Results were available very quickly, and TV-images very professional. The only problem was the time of broadcasting. But everybody with interest in this event was able to get great images of the rally. It was clear this was a job done by the experienced Dakar-team.
It was good to show that although the traditional Dakar rally won’t be back for a while, the organization behind it and behind the Dakar series is still there. In general it was a good event, for sure the wish for more rally and less enduro will be taken into account. In the end conditions were the same for everybody, and we made the best off it: to get the complete podium!”
What are the next activities for the KTM Rally teams?
“From Monday we’re completely focused on the next rally in Brazil, where we still have a score to settle with the Dos Sertoes Rally. We will go there with 5 factory riders all starting on the Rally Light. Conditions will be tough here as well, but the success in the CER gives us hope we can also win the Rally Dos Sertoes”.
Jose Manuel Pellicer
“This is a ‘moment supreme’ for me. Finally! It’s my first, but hopefully not last win. When I go to the next rally, I will not be the same person anymore because this victory gives my moral a big boost. The Central Europe Rally is a new kind of race, which we had to adapt to. Now we will have to see in which direction this race will develop.”
“It’s my first podium for KTM and I’m very happy. Two years ago I couldn’t dream this would happen to me. The bike was just perfect this week, and the team did a great job. It’s still a long way to go before we will race in Chili with Dakar 2009, but I’m going for it.”
“Finally, after all these years of hard work and suffering, I’m on the podium. Thanks to Toni Togo who never stopped believing in me. I rode a consistent race which paid off in the end.”