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Spaniard takes home top moto prize in 2009 Dakar

The Dakar Rally, held in South America for the first time in its history, is over. It was an exciting route for spectators and thousands of South Americans showed up on a daily basis to cheer on competitors. It was clear they enjoyed themselves.

All of ASO's work in planning the South American Dakar appears to have been warranted. The route seems to have been a success and proved tough on competitors and equipment. 217 motorcyclists started the Dakar but only 113 made it to the finish line.

Spaniard Marc Coma, riding his factory KTM, took home the top honor in the moto division beating his nearest rival (and team mate) Cyril Depres by nearly an hour and a half. This is the second win for 32 year old Marc Coma, who also won in 2006. A perhaps surprising third place finisher was French rider, David Fretigne. Fretigne was riding a Yamaha WR450 that was certainly outmatched in the pure horsepower department by the larger KTM's of the two top finishers.

KTM has a history of success in the Dakar with this year being no exception. The Austrian motorcycle company produced "the" motorcycle if you wanted to be successful in the Dakar this year. KTM riders took a whopping eight of the top ten spots. The Yamaha of Fretigne and Portugese rider, Paulo Goncalves, on his Honda were the only riders of non-KTM's to make it into the top ten.

In the moto division, the Volkswagon Toureg was the vehicle of choice for the top two finishers. South-African Giniel De Villiers and German co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz took the top spot. US driver Mark Miller and co-driver Ralph Pitchford (South Africa) took the second spot. Third place finisher was the US Hummer team, Robby Gordon and co-driver Andy Grider.

Robby Gordon is perhaps more famous for his Nascar exploits was the only top three finisher in a two-wheel drive in the car division. No doubt the third sport will be bitter-sweet for Gordon. He desperately wants to be the first North American to win the event - I'm sure the same can be said of Mark Miller though!

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