January 28 2011.

Photograph courtesy of Jonty Edmunds: Marc Coma on his MRW Rally Factory Team KTM

The maiden competitive appearance of the Michelin Desert Race on the 2011 Dakar turned out to be a triumphant outing for the brand new tyre.

Last Saturday, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Spanish rider Marc Coma and his MRW Rally Factory Team-run KTM led home an emphatic one-two finish for the Michelin Desert Race at the end of the tough 9,500-kilometre event which included 5,000km of against-the-clock action over some of Argentina and Chile's most difficult tracks and trails. Frenchman Cyril Despres (Team Red Bull KTM) was second overall.

From the rocky foothills of the Andes Mountains to the sand of the awesome Atacama Desert, the versatility of the Michelin Desert Race enabled the Spaniard to take the inherent difficulties and hazards of the famous rally in his stride to collect the third Dakar win of his career. It was also Michelin's 28th success in this competition since 1982.

The new Michelin Desert Race is the fruit of the experience acquired by Michelin over three decades of cross-country rallying. It was specially designed for the latest-generation 450cc 'factory' prototypes and its development in the hands of engineers working out of the firm's Technologies Center near Clermont-Ferrand, France, started in March 2010.

The Michelin Desert Race is designed to function with the 'Bib-mousse' run-flat safety system introduced by Michelin in the early 1980s and which is readily available across the counter, although the tyre itself is not yet on general sale. Michelin's front-running motorcycle racers praised the enhanced agility and grip, improved lateral road holding and outstanding durability the new tyre brought them during the event.

The world's most gruelling cross-country competition stands out as a first class, full-scale proving ground for tyres. The extreme conditions delivered by the Dakar allow new technologies to be put through their paces in a uniquely exacting environment and provide a laboratory which directly benefits all users of Michelin products.

The new Desert Race is only available to Michelin's official partner rally teams and riders.