To be in the top 20 you need a fast bike, to finish you need a reliable bike, strangely enough those two things dont go together too well. The KTM is probably at the moment the more reliable pro rally bike. And the top KTM guys are already calling it an old bike because its heavier than rest of the pack.
We, the followers look at a rally bike and think reliability (more from days gone past), The factory boys need an engine that will last 7 days. A 7 day engine = an enduro engine. Thas what the rally has essentially become.
As an amateur I think the route Jmo Piglet has taken is the route for the amateur. Absolute reliability. Time to dust off a 690RR.
180 km/hr out of a 450X and make it last??? One can only hope.
"If at first you dont succeed then skydiving is not for you."