Marc Coma Sardinia Rally a Marc Coma at the Sardinia Rally © Tomaselli J/KTM Images

Marc Coma and Cyril Despres will line-up to do battle once as they take on the FIM Rally de Sardegna on the Italian island, which begins this weekend.

The superstar duo headline an elite field in Sardinia in this year's event which begins on Sunday, June 24 and finishes on Thursday, June 28.

Coma is seeking a third consecutive Rally de Sardegna title and a sixth in total in an event that rival Despres has often cited as his favourite of the year.

The third round of the FIM World Championship will have the added difficulty of a marathon stage on the second day, which will make things even more complicated for the riders, who will be forced to face the following stage without mechanical service.

As well as the threat from Despres, who was second in this race last year, Coma will have as his main rivals the riders that follow him in the World Championship overall standings, Rubén Faría, Jakub Przygonski and Paulo Gonçalves.

With an advantage of 14 points in the overall standings, a victory in Sardinia will secure a fifth world title for the rider from Avia before competing in the last round, which will take place next September in Egypt. To secure it, Portugal's Faría would have to be off the podium in Sardinia and Poland's Jakub Przygonski should not finish in second place or better.

"After achieving two good results in the first rounds of the World Championship, I face this new round with a good motivation," Coma said. "It is the last race of the first part of the season and I want to do well there. The Sardinia Rally is a special race, with an Enduro bike and short distances. Due to its features and being very different from the ones we are used to, it will probably be one of the most difficult rounds. In these short rallies, tactics become very important.

"Sardinia has an unusual navigation. A mistake in that area could be crucial, so that might be the key of the race. Moreover, this year there is no prologue stage. That means the starting order is already established. That doesn't benefit us too much, because we will be third to start and most of the riders will start behind. One of the most important stages will be the marathon, where we have to be very careful with the mechanics, as a problem would complicate the race a lot”. 

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