Marc Coma wins fifth Dakar Rally title

38-year-old finished 16 minutes ahead despite torrential rainfall on the last day

SPAIN'S Marc Coma, riding for the Red Bull KTM Factory team, has won his fifth Dakar Rally title despite torrential rainfall creating a dangerously slippery piste. 

En route into Buenos Aires, Coma managed to maintain his lead despite race organisers shortening the timed special stage due to poor weather conditions, and eventually finished 16 minutes and 53 seconds ahead of Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves.

Fellow Spaniard Joan Barreda led the race in the first week and became Coma's biggest threat, but the Red Bull KTM Factory Team's captain regained the lead in the overall standings after the eighth stage.

Coma made his Dakar debut in 2002 and won his first Dakar rally four years later in 2006. Adding to his totals, the Spaniard also won in the 2009, the first time it was held in South America, as well as 2011 and 2014.

The 38-year-old's fifth title win became extra special as he was able to score back-to-back victories, making him one of Dakar's greats. 

He said: 'We had to change our strategy completely and push, and after that the rhythm of the race changed completely," explained Coma.

'We knew it was a long race, we knew that managing the marathon stages was very important, and I think that at that point we made the difference to our competitors. Both marathon stages went without problems for us, no mistakes, and the pace was high all the time.We tried to come back to the top of the classification.

'We worked very well together and this is the reason why year after year we are here fighting for the victory. It’s amazing. Not in my wildest dreams could I have imagined this would happen in my lifetime. Of course it’s a great feeling.

'Now it’s time to enjoy this achievement with family, friends, the team, because we have spent a lot of energy on this!'

Showing his dominance throughout the Dakar Rally, Marc Coma gave KTM their 14th consecutive title. 

Final results (Bikes):
1. Marc Coma (ESP) KTM 46h 03m 06s
2. Paulo Gonçalves (PRT) Honda +00:16:53
3. Toby Price (AUS) KTM +00:23:14
6. Ruben Faria (PRT) KTM +01:57:50
12. Hélder Rodrigues (PRT) Honda +04:00:00?
17. Joan Barreda (ESP) Honda +05:54:35
18. Kuba Przygonski (POL) KTM +06:21:12

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