KTM Confirms Quit from Dakar Rally

Austrian motorcycle manufacturer KTM announced its immediate quit from the Dakar Rally as a result of the regulation changes due to come into effect in 2010. According to a press release issued by the bike maker on Thursday, the main reason for their decision was related to the fact that only motorcycles with a maximum displacement of 450cc will be permitted to compete in next year's event.

KTM's announcement comes only one day after the French ASO confirmed Argentina and Chile as hosts of the 2010 Dakar Rally, the 38th running of the event.

In the aforementioned press release, KTM points some obvious fingers at the rally organizers, as they believe this is a clear move to end the Austrian manufacturer's supremacy in the motorcycle category of the event – KTM have won the last 8 running editions of the Dakar Rally. In addition to the works team withdrawing from the event, KTM will also no longer support other teams.

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,” said KTM Motor Sport Advisor Heinz Kinigadner in a statement.

The financial consequences that results from this decision are enormous. Quite apart from this, we are shocked by the organizer'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,” added Kinigadner.

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! Having said that, for KTM, the rally in South America is now history. We will now fully concentrate on the Rally World Championship and we will seek out alternatives. Maybe we will soon again see full KTM Rally engagement on African soil - back to the roots!” further argued KTM Motor Sport Director Winfried Kerschhaggl.
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