When Marc Coma hinted at a return to the Dakar Rally for 2016, everyone assumed it would be on a bike and with KTM. The famous Spanish rally-raid racer has other plans now, announcing his retirement from the sport, and also that he will begin working as a Sporting Director for the Dakar Rally.
This makes the announcement a double-shock, one because we expected to see Coma vying for his sixth Dakar Rally win, and two because it was expected that when he did stop racing motorbikes, he would follow the path by many competitors, and race in the four-wheel classes.
“This level of responsibility is an opportunity for me to put back into the rally everything that the Dakar has given me,” said Coma, while talking on the Dakar Rally website about his new position.
“I still feel a bit like a competitor, but since I’ve started working, I get the feeling that I will be looking at the race from different angles. I know that it’s the right time for me. My goal is to put all my energy into ensuring that the Dakar remains the greatest rally in the world and my philosophy is to give priority to a sense of adventure.”
After 12 Dakar rallies, 5 wins, and 6 world championships, Coma said on his Facebook page that he believed the time was right to retire. “I have to be honest with myself and with all the people who have been supported me along those years. To my sponsors and specially KTM, where I’ve always felt at home, thank you.”
“As a new sportive director of Dakar I will have the chance to give back all the energy that somehow the rally has given me. THANK YOU all for your support. Always #ThrottleToTheDonkey!!” he added.
Part of Coma’s new duties include helping Director of the Dakar, Etienne Lavigne, organize and plan the 2016 edition of the iconic rally raid. This also means that Coma will be reconnoitering the route for the ASO, most of this month.
For the Dakar Rally, it means a new generation of riders will come into the limelight — it also means a possible end to KTM’s domination of the South American race, though we wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss Team Orange just yet.