Dakar: Champion Marc Coma - Repsol interview

MARC COMA, THE PRINCE IS CROWNED AS THE NEW KING AT THE DAKAR RALLY With his victory in the 2006 Lisbon Dakar Rally, the young Repsol rider culminates a brilliant season in addition to making his dream come true At the age of 29, Marc Coma ...

MARC COMA, THE PRINCE IS CROWNED AS THE NEW KING AT THE DAKAR RALLY

With his victory in the 2006 Lisbon Dakar Rally, the young Repsol rider culminates a brilliant season in addition to making his dream come true

At the age of 29, Marc Coma gathers successful results in record breaking time and has already an extraordinary sports career. His qualities as a rider took him to raze the world of enduro to the ground and, after trying luck in raids, the Spaniard managed to take the Cross Country Rally World Champion title in November 2005. Following that the only aim that was left to reach for Jordi Arcarons's pupil in the Repsol KTM Team was the Dakar Rally. He started as one of the favourites and after fifteen days of hard competition and some mishap, Coma confirmed all forecasts becoming the winner of the 28th edition of the hardest rally of the world.

An analysis of your performance in this rally

"We started in Portugal with two quite long stages, more than usual in Europe, no fear, but respect. Our motorbike was heavier than the others and the terrain wasn't favourable for us, but we were satisfied. We noticed that we had done the best choice. Then we went to Morocco, which is always difficult and complicated because it's highly demanding both for riders and machines. There was the first selection and it became clear which was the group of riders who were finally going for the victory. We knew for sure that it was Mauritania where the race would be decided and so it was. Not that it would be sentenced there but it's where Cyril and Isidre crashed, meaning that the race was almost decided. There were Guinea and Senegal left, which were complicated stages, but the big selection had already been made and we saw that we would be able to reach our aim. And what to tell about the arrival in Lake Rose, a dream come true."

You've been shut up in your world these days and you only had contact with Jordi Arcarons. Concentration was vital.

"The race has been complicated, especially as regards navigation, with the waypoints, the radars, the speed limits... It all forces you to be really concentrated, not being able to relax the least. Therefore I tried to be always concentrated at a 100% and Jordi helped me a lot when it was time to work. I'm deeply thankful."

Tell us about the most complicated moment of the rally.

"There have been several difficult moments, but with no doubt, Andy's death was terrible. The Dakar has all kinds of moments, but I'm happy about how we managed to overcome all of them."

Leaving the title aside, which has been the best moment of these fifteen days competition?

"The stage arriving in Atar, Mauritania. I was in the lead from start to finish, navigation all by myself. It was a very complicated stage and I'm very happy with how I did it. Too bad the mousse founded and we were not able to win the stage. But our aim was the rally and not stage victories, so it was fantastic."

Have you felt panic at any time?

"No. We had a complicated situation yesterday because we got a bit disoriented, but I felt no panic."

Have you felt any pressure since you became the leader?

"There's been pressure from the first day. From the moment you set the victory as your aim, there's pressure. The secret lies in knowing how to bear it."

How do you assess the performance of your team mates, for example Carlo De Gavardo?

"Too bad he was penalised because he's done a beautiful race. Congratulations. I was surprised with his pace in the first days, but then he made some mistakes that were expensive."

Giovanni Sala

"It's simply great that my water-carrier managed to finish third. That means a lot by itself. He deserves it, not only as a rider, but also as a person. I'm very thankful for all he has done. I don't know whether he is going to retire or not, although I hope not. He deserved a result like this in Africa; his best result so far had been a sixth place."

And newcomer Jordi Viladoms.

"I think he had a magnificent evolution from the start of the race. He's grown as a rider and it was a shame for him to crash being so close to the finish. But looking at it from the positive side, I think that it's an experience and it is better if he has it now and not when he is going for a good result. He's done almost all stages of the Dakar and that has surely hardened him as a rider. I'm sure that he'll clinch the victory some day."

What does the figure of Jordi Arcarons mean?

"Ha has involved himself very much in this rally, as he always does, and the result I've achieved, is in large part due to him."

What does the Repsol KTM Team provide you with?

"If there's something that makes us different from the rest is the team of people we have around us. We're more than a team, we're family, we're a group of friends where everyone knows perfectly well what he has to do. This gives us a special touch which the other teams do not have."

A former team mate of yours, Nani Roma, also managed to step on the podium in the car class.

"I'm very happy for him, because he is not only a good friend, also a master. Nani opened a door and we'll try not to let it close. He left a trail behind and we'll all follow it."

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Giovanni Sala , Nani Roma , Marc Coma , Jordi Arcarons , Jordi Viladoms