The 2012 Dakar Rally saw a fantastic race between 2011 Dakar Rally champion Marc Coma and his title rival Cyril Despres. The evenly matched due have been alternating championship victories for the last 7-years, and in 2012, the title could have gone to either rider.
Marc Coma held the lead heading down the final stretch of the Dakar but a mechanical error on the penultimate day handed Despres a 10 minute lead. Coma would have to change out his engine, incurring a time penalty, and Despres was able to waltz his way to his fourth Dakar title.
"Today we won and it's simply fantastic," Despres said. "This is without a shadow of a doubt the toughest Dakar I've ever raced in. It was difficult physically, but even more psychologically. Challenging yourself every morning and fighting on the course takes its toll on your mind. All victories are beautiful, but this one is special because it came down to the wire and was decided at the last minute. Today will leave its mark on me."
Here are some highlights from the 2012 Dakar Rally.