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 factory rider and multiple Dakar Rally winner Cyril Despres of France put his head down and found the necessary power to take overall victory in the Morocco Rally on Saturday in the final of the six stages.

Despres took the victory by almost seven minutes ahead of Spain’s Joan Barreda while KTM rider Chaleco Lopez of Chile was overall third.

The six-stage rally in the desert of Morocco was the final rally of the year and the next time Despres and his teammates compete with me in the 2013 Dakar Rally that starts on January 5 in Lima, Peru.