Nancy Knapp Schilke
Cross County Rally competitor Marc Coma rode his MRW bike to his fifth title today by taking a podium finish in the 2012 CCR World Championship penultimate round. The Sardinia Rally had two difficult stages, and when the Catalan rider experienced a brake problem, he handled his KTM bike like a champion to place third, and take home the main prize.
“I am very satisfied. It was a very intense first part of the season with many races and I am very happy, because after Dakar this was our most important goal for the year – and we achieved it. I am delighted to be on the podium today and to be champion for the fifth time,” said the 2012 champion.
Hailing from Barcelona, Coma’s previous titles came in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2010.
Coma said, "Winning the title is very difficult. Winning this title means you have to be competitive on many different types of terrain, you have to adapt to different types of organisation, roadbooks... So the fact that we have won the world championship shows that we are the most complete and competitive. "
He also has notched three Dakar Rally Bike titles, and numerous cross-country, off road, and rally raids events.
His bike in the CCR series is setup differently than the one built for the Dakar challenge. About his KTM 450 EXC-F that will not be the one bike for the 2013 Dakar, Coma said, "It's a bit different from what we are accustomed to riding. I used it to compete in California, in the Baja 500, which doesn’t require a roadbook and I lacked a little practice. Here in Sardinia, for the first two days I did not quite feel comfortable with the navigation, but on the other days I began to regain my feel and I had chances to win in the race right to the end. Our goal was to win in Sardinia, but getting third place is also a good result. "
Coma and the MRW team still have a season to finish and then they will prepare for the 2013 Dakar! When asked about what it takes for a rider to stay focused, to not make any major errors, and to be able to deal with a mechanical problem being out in the middle of nowhere, Coma smiled: "Ultimately the most important thing ends up being a combination of everything.”
He added, “A sprint requires that you plan the race as well as possible, you cannot make any mistakes and you have to be smart with your tactics. Still, sometimes the strategy is better or worse. In the first two races it worked out very well, although here in Sardinia things didn’t go as well as expected. However, we could still get the world title in the end."
In the end, Coma and the team landed yet another title.