As riders and teams complete preparations for the start of the Dakar Rally on Jan. 5, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s quartet of Marc Coma, Ruben Faria, Chaleco Lopez and Jordi Villadoms answered questions at the press conference of team sponsor Kärcher.
Marc Coma: “I’m very happy with the new team structure and with my teammates. I’ve known them for many years and we have a very good feeling in the team. Our team is very professional, very precise and is driven by passion for Dakar and rally sport. I think having two marathon stages this year is very positive. It’s like going back to the spirit of the Dakar adventure and it fits the philosophy that riders need to think and to take care of their equipment. We’ll take it one day at a time. The competition is getting stronger and that’s healthy for the sport. It was hard for me to miss last year’s race through injury but I’m happy to be back and also with the progress throughout the year. The new (2014 KTM 450 Rally) bike is awesome. I’m completely happy with it and it is capable of delivering a good result,” he added.
Ruben Faria: “I’m pleased to be staying with the team and with the new bike and the team structure. Our strategy is to win the Dakar,” he said. When asked about the passing of teammate Kurt Caselli, he added: “I lost a friend and teammate but this unfortunately happens in the sport that we do. Now we must be professional and focus on the reason we are here, to win the Dakar. Such a thing is always hard to deal with but now we have to shift our focus to the race.”
Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez: “I’m feeling strong and comfortable and I’m in the best place. I got a chance to test the bike in Spain a few weeks ago and I’m really happy with it. This is a bike that has the potential and ability to win the Dakar. We confirmed this after the Morocco Rally when we saw how the bike performed on technical terrain. When we reach the finish line I would love to be on the podium again in front of my home crowd.”
Jordi Villadoms: “I’m elated to be back in the factory team structure because it’s so professional. I haven’t had too much time to test the bike but I’m a professional and I have the ability to quickly adapt to new equipment. “
Red Bull KTM Factory Team Manager Alex Doringer: “We chose our team not only because of the quality of our riders but also because of their character and attitude. When we speak about the competition, we have to say that the Dakar itself is our biggest competitor. This year there are two marathon stages and more than 1000 km extra in special stages. It’s going to be much more demanding.”