KTM-Coma-Morocco-10-15-13KTM factory rider Marc Coma opened his account in the OilLibya Morocco Rally on Monday with a second place finish in the stage, trailing leader Joan Barreda of Portugal by just over three minutes.

Coma is looking to seal the 2013 FIM World Cross Countries Rally Championship title at this event in Morocco, which represents the final rally of the 2013 season. He is the championship leader by a narrow three-point margin from Paolo Goncalves of Portugal and the contest is expected to be tough between these and other riders. The rally is disputed over six stages, much of it in typical sand and dunes, the preferred terrain for KTM’s three-times Dakar Rally winner.

The Red Bull KTM Factory Team are also using the rally as its final preparations and testing before the Dakar Rally in January 2014 and have unleashed the brand new KTM 450 Rally bike for the occasion. Joining Coma in Morocco are factory riders Chaleco Lopez of Chile and Ruben Faria of Portugal who finished 5 and 12. Teammate Kurt Caselli (USA) was ranked at seventeenth after the opening day after incurring a 20-minute penalty for missing a waypoint. KTM Australia’s Ben Grabham was a creditable eleventh after stage one and the secodn KTM support rider, Riaan Van Niekerk of South Africa was sixteenth.

KTM on Saturday wrote another chapter in its history when the sports motorcycle market leaders celebrated taking its tenth consecutive Dakar Rally title. The race was won in heroic style by Marc Coma closely followed by Cyril Despres, who between them have taken the past six Dakar titles for the Austrian brand. The victory also heralded an aggressive new era for KTM in rally sport, according to company CEO Stefan Pierer.

The victory was also celebrated by the presence of Hubert Trunkenpolz, Head of Sales and Marketing for KTM who traveled from Sao Paolo Brazil, where the company has just opened its latest international subsidiary, to be in Buenos Aires to greet the two KTM riders. The 2011 Dakar, over 9500 grueling kilometers, was thrilling from the first to the final stage as the two KTM heroes battled it out for the top podium place. Coma and Despres have dominated rally sport in recent years and there has rarely been two riders who share such passion and skill when competing in the world’s toughest rally. The company’s success was further underlined by excellent performances by many other KTM riders who successfully competed in the 33rd edition of the Dakar Rally.