Pirelli Moto Takes Over in Dakar 2009: 1st and 2nd Overall with Scorpion Rally
Pirelli's new Scorpion Rally off-road tire proved to be the ideal weapon for the diversity of conditions for this epic challenge
Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Milan (Italy) 17 January, 2009 Pirelli's debut in the Dakar as a supplier to the official KTM factory teams was nothing short of dominating, with the new SCORPION RALLY tyre capturing the 1st and 2nd positions on the podium with riders Marc Coma and Cyril Despres. This off-road rally tyre was developed together with KTM in preparation for this year's Dakar. Out of a field of 235 riders, seven riders chose to have support from Pirelli and out of these seven, three riders finished in the top 7 positions overall. KTM Repsol rider Marc Coma (SPA) and Red Bull KTM rider Cyril Despres (FRA) were fiercely competitive in this 31st edition of the Dakar, considered to be the most difficult rally race in the world, which this year moved 10,000 km away to South America.
Two years of development on the new SCORPION RALLY tyre, made specifically for rally application and born from the winning heritage of the Scorpion product family, has resulted in a product worthy of such a challenging race. This new tyre underwent testing and collaboration with the best rally riders and racing teams, and Dakar 2009 was chosen for its launch due to the event's popular following and demanding terrain. The innovative and complementary structure helped guarantee outstanding performance and high resistance to fatigue and puncture. Furthermore, the compound and knobs layout is designed to provide great traction and grip for the difficult terrains that are encountered in even most demanding rallies such as Dakar.
Pirelli Tyre would like to thank Marc Coma, Cyril Despres the entire KTM team and its riders for managing the uncertainty of change, their excellent preparations prior to the race, and for believing that Pirelli could produce a winning rally tire. From the positive feedback received during the testing sessions, to the open communication throughout the Dakar, it was clear that KTM and Pirelli were a committed team. Pirelli and KTM look forward to all the excellent racing results the partnership will bring as well as the strong and positive benefits which two sport-focused companies will inevitably find.
Overall in the Dakar, Pirelli riders and the new SCORPION RALLY won 7 of 14 stages, and gained a total of 1:52 hrs over the competition. These riders tackled 5,652 km of specials from Buenos Aires to Valparaíso and back again, during which they encountered a race environment unique to this new location, with notable places like Terra Del Fuego, the Andes Mountains and the Atacama Desert, said to be the world's driest desert. Dakar 2009's extreme diversity and newly charted territory was especially challenging for the teams, the riders and technicians to make the ideal setup (regarding tyres, compounds, mousse, tubes, etc.,) as the environment was completely foreign from previous African Dakar races.
Notwithstanding the excellent performance of the top two riders, Marc Coma's teammate Jordi Viladoms (SPA), who is always a perfect example of fine team spirit and consistency, finished 7th out of 235 riders and even took home his own win in Stage 10. Pirelli rider Rodrigues Filho (BRA) of Team Honda Brazil rode near the front for the whole race behind the pack of large displacement bikes, putting his 450cc bike in the 12th spot for the Dakar overall, and 3rd amongst bikes in the 450cc class.