Friday, June 05, 2009
KTM to withdraw from the Dakar Rally!!
The organisers of the Dakar Rally have announced that from 2010, only motorcycles of up to 450cc engine capacity would be allowed to compete. And the first outcome of this new ‘rule’ is that KTM – who’ve taken eight consecutive wins at the Dakar in recent years – have announced their immediate withdrawal from the Dakar Rally. Instead, KTM say they will now focus on the world rally championship…
The announcement regarding the 450cc engine limit being implemented from 2010 does seem a bit unfair for KTM, whose Dakar racebikes are fitted with 654cc single-cylinder engines. Various KTM teams and riders had already started preparing for the 2010 Dakar Rally (which is about six months away…) and the new rule would certainly mean that all their plans have now gone down the drain.
‘Every sport regulation needs changes and adjustments to new developments to retain an interest in it, but this also require the appropriate lead times. We have the entire material for the 690 Rally motorcycles for our factory team as well as that for 50 customers’ motorcycles in our storage facility ready to be constructed in June. Riders’ contracts have been finalised and all the team members have been engaged. The financial consequences that results from this decision are enormous. Quite apart from this, we are shocked by the organiser’s lack of loyalty, above all because of the huge efforts we made following the cancellation of the Dakar in 2008 by contributing to the new edition, even during a period of extreme economic crisis,’ says Heinz Kinigadner, KTM Motor Sport Advisor.
‘Rally sport serves to prove the efficiency and stability of our large volume series single cylinder. There is no question that we will remain active in rally sport! We will now fully concentrate on the World Rally Championship and we will seek out alternatives,’ says Winfried Kerschhaggl, KTM Motor Sport Director.