Edition 39 of the Dakar (2 – 14 January 2017) will be contested in
three countries. Following Paraguay, which will make its debut on the Dakar
route, will be a long stay in Bolivia before the rally moves on to the mixed
terrains of its most loyal South American host country, Argentina.
Al Attiyah Bounces Back With Toyota: Two-time winner, Nasser
Al-Attiyah and co-driver Matthieu Baumel are entered with Toyota Gazoo Racing
for the 2017 Dakar. The South African team will set off with the “Toyota Hilux
Evo” in the two-wheel adventure.
After a lack of success in the
shooting events at the Rio Games (eliminated in qualifying) Nasser Al Attiyah
is setting his ambitions at the highest level for the 2017 Dakar. He will be
behind the wheel of a Toyota along with team mates Giniel De Villiers and
Leeroy Poulter… and maybe in the all-new two-wheel drive developed by Toyota
There is a lot going on at
Toyota. And it is impressive! Following his second place result at Buenos
Aires, nearly 35-minutes behind Stéphane Peterhansel in the Peugeot, the fiery
Nasser Al Attiyah let it be known that he will experiment with a new way to win
his third Dakar, after 2011 and 2015. The suspense began during the season with
his appearances and more importantly his five victories in the world cup in a
Hilux. And it is with the Toyota Gazoo Racing team that the Qatari driver will
line up with for the 2017 edition: “I competed in five rounds of the FIA world
cup with Toyota and I won all of them! I feel confident and I think that there
is a possibility to win the Dakar again”, says Al Attiyah.
PEUGEOT 3008 DKR: A NEW GEM FOR THE “DREAM TEAM”
Victorious on the 2016 Dakar
with Stéphane Peterhansel, the Peugeot 2008 DKR will be replaced on the 2017
edition by the 3008 DKR, and entrusted to four crews entered by the French
constructor: Peterhansel-Cottret, LoebElena, Sainz-Cruz and Despres-Castera.
The Peugeot Sport staff has
based this new entry on proven technical attributes: a two-wheel drive car and
a turbodiesel engine.
Stéphane Peterhansel, Sébastien
Loeb, Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres are the quartet of champions that
dominated the 2016 Dakar and all four will return behind the wheel of the
Peugeot 3008 DKR. Thanks to the modifications carried out, they will be the
favourites against the likes of Toyota with Al Attiyah, De Villiers and Roma as
well as the Minis led by Mikko Hirvonen.
The 3008 DKR lines are
inspired by the 3008 SUV, which is scheduled to make its world debut in
The Peugeot 3008 DKR datasheet
V6 bi-turbo diesel engine:
2993 cc / 340 bhp
Maximum speed: 200kph
Carbon fibre bodywork
Length: 4,31 m
Width: 2,20 m
Wheelbase: 3 m: Ariel Jatón
and Tito Rolón will be driving the Acciona 100% EcoPowered car in its third
attempt to finish the Dakar. After completing the Rally of Morocco in 2015 and
2016, an electric vehicle completing the Dakar seems closer than ever.
Technical improvements made to
the Acciona 100% EcoPowered over the year focused on lightening the chassis and
Ariel Jatón came tantalisingly
close, but he needs to clear one last hurdle to become the first driver to
finish the Dakar at the wheel of an electric 4×4. The Acciona 100% EcoPowered
has come a long way since 2015… Will the third time be the charm?
The Dakar draws ambitious
competitors and dreamers who want to move the world forward. It took a touch of
madness for the engineers of Acciona, a Spanish company active in the energy
sector, to take up the challenge of designing an electric vehicle capable of
finishing the Dakar.
HIMOINSA… TOWARDS THE SUMMIT: Behind the factory KTM, Honda and
Yamaha teams (not to forget the TVS Sherco team from India), the Himoinsa team
has established itself as a structure that counts on leading all its riders to
the finish in Rosario, including Gerard Farrés who finished in 8th place in
2016. This year, “La Roja” is aiming higher, with notably Iván Cervantes…
Close observers have taken
notice of their ambitions! In recent years, a discreet but significant
breakthrough has been orchestrated by the strategists of the Himoinsa team. At
the head of the Spanish team, the take-off has been precisely organised by
fighter pilot Miguel Puertas, who in addition to his air force duties, has
taken part in nine consecutive Dakars spanning from 2005-2014. Last year was a
consecration for the group as it put one of its riders in the Top 10. But for
this coming January Puertas is aiming higher than the 8th place of Gerard
Farrés: “There are more of us and we’re better! We are certainly not dismissing
the possibility of battling for a Top 5 and why not a spot on the podium?”
The six riders of the Himoinsa
MINI, IN WINNING BACK MODE: The X-Raid team has developed the Mini
John Cooper Works Rally to return to its winning ways on the Dakar. The new
model will be entrusted to Mikko Hirvonen, Yazeed Al Rahji and Brice Menzies. The
X-Raid team will line up eight teams in all for the start in Asunción this
coming January 2nd
Faster, better balanced and
thus more manageable, the 4×4 developed by X-Raid will make its debut on the
tracks of Paraguay with the goal of winning two weeks later in Buenos Aires…
A Dakar that concludes with
three cars in the top six would satisfy a large number of teams. That is how it
went for the X-Raid team last January, but the 2016 edition saw the string of
victories that began in 2012 come to an end. Since then, the German team’s
engineers and technicians have doubled their collective effort to develop a new
Mini to take on Peugeot and Toyota, with whom they will have to battle.
To try to take a fifth Dakar
title, Sven Quandt formed a reworked team with the objective of capitalizing on
the very promising debut of four-time world rally championship runner-up, Mikko
Hirvonen, who finished 4 th on the 2016 Dakar. Three Mini John Cooper Works
Rally cars have been expedited to South America. The Finn will be joined by the
latest arrival to the X-Raid squad, Yazeed Al Rahji and American off-road
racing star Brice Menzies, who is awaited to make his debut in the rally-raid
world with a bang. To complete the armada, five Mini All 4 Racing will be
confided to drivers capable of making a strong showing, with “Orly” Terranova
leading the way, but also Boris Garafulic, Jakub Przygonski, Mohammed Abu-Issa
and Stephan Schott.
Model: Mini John Cooper
6-cylindre turbo diesel
Power: 340 bhp.
Weight: 1952.5 kg
Top speed: 184 kph
A FIRST TIME IN THE DUNES FOR NICOLÁS FUCHS
Latin America’s top driver in
the WRC2 will make his Dakar debut. Nicolás Fuchs will cross dunes for the
first time and his co-driver Fernando Mussano will have to learn about
navigation, but they will be right at home on the Argentinean tracks.
Here is a rookie that will
have to be closely watched. Nicolás Fuchs is the latest driver from traditional
rally competition who will take on the Dakar adventure, joining the likes of
Carlos Sainz and Sébastien Loeb, but also Mikko Hirvonen, Martin Prokop and
Xavier Pons. To continue the momentum from a convincing season in WRC2, during
which he won the Argentinean round, the Peru native has chosen to make his
debut at the wheel of a 4×4 HRX built by Team Wevers. Against a strong and
experienced field, the newcomer has every reason to hope for a spot in the Top
10 which his illustrious Dutch team achieved in 2012 with a 9th place finish
for Bernhard Ten Brinke. The five-time national champion has set an extra goal
for himself as flag bearer for the Peruvian delegation: “I am very proud to be
doing something I always wanted to do and that will finally happen next
January. I hope I can help bring the Dakar back to Peru in the future.”
HONDA IS ORGANIZING A REBELLION: For its fifth participation as a
factory constructor, Honda comes into the 2017 Dakar with several options to
set its aim on the top step of the podium.
Kevin Benavides (4th on the
2016 Dakar, winner of the Merzouga Rally and Desafío Ruta 40), Joan Barreda
(winner of the de Baja Aragón, Vegas-Reno and China Grand Rally this season)
and Paulo Gonçalves (2nd on the 2015 Dakar), will be the pillars of a
particularly dense squad.
The list of candidates to end
KTM’s Dakar domination in the motorcycle category is long. With Kevin
Benavides, Joan Barreda and Paulo Gonçalves, the Monster Energy Honda Team has
three potential candidates capable to succeed Toby Price this coming January.
TRUCKS: A CHANGE OF ERA? Fifty
trucks will line up for the start of the 2017 Dakar: the 4 Team De Rooy
Ivecos are the favourites for the victory, but they will face stiff opposition
from the 4 Kamaz trucks entered by the Russian constructor.
The top step of the podium
will also be the objective of Ales Loprais, who returns with Tatra, and the
Veka-Man drivers, Hans Stacey and Pieter Versluis similarly have their sights
set on the win.
In the truck category, Kamaz
has 12 of the 16 editions held in the 21 st Century. But the defending
champion, Gerard De Rooy has brought the Iveco trucks to an optimal level of
performance. Will the Russian drivers be able to reverse the trend?
CRISTINA GUTIÉRREZ… THINKING OF KLEINSCHMIDT! The Dakar welcomes a
newcomer this year in the car category. While fellow Spaniard Laia Sanz has
shined the past few years on two-wheels, Cristina Gutiérrez hopes to make a
name for herself on four. But first she has to become the first female from
Spain to make it to the finish line.
Her child-like smile and
nonchalant attitude give her an air of innocence. But once behind the wheel and
helmet closed, Cristina Gutiérrez transforms into a fierce competitor, well
decided to play a real pole in the Dakar. Runner-up in the 2015 Spanish
Cross-Country Championship, the up and coming driver from Burgos isn’t afraid
of aiming high in using a reference like Jutta Kleinschmidt, the only woman to win
the rally outright, back in 2001. And the only one to come close to the exploit
of the German lady was Isabelle Patissier in 2011 (16th) in her 9th
participation At 25 years of age, the dentistry student has clearly defined the
stakes. She has called upon experienced co-driver Pedro López, competed in the
Dakar in 2007 and 2015, to help her learn as fast as she can. “We have to run
serenely. Taking care of our vehicle and running an intelligent race is
essential. I have confidence in Cristina when it comes to this, although she
lacks experience at the international level. She has all the qualities to
succeed”. Now all that remains is to see this duo in the rally ending podium on
January 14 in Buenos Aires.
QUADS: EASTERLY WINDS The South American domination in the quad
category could be called into question by Poland’s Rafal Sonik, Josef Machacek
from the Czech Republic or Russia’s Sergey Karyakin. 2014 Winner, Ignacio
Casale from Chile will be the leader of the riders from the continent, which
can also count on Nelson Sanabria from Paraguay and Bolivia’s Walter Nosiglia.
At the start in the capital
city of Paraguay, Asunción, 37 quads will line-up with 22 ridden by South
American riders, which have dominated the sharp end of the order since the
arrival of the Dakar on the continent in 2009. But Rafal Sonik, Josef Machacek on
his return, and Sergey Karyakin, could very well bring back the category win to
THE “ROOKIES” WILL CONTEND WITH THE ICONS 82 of the vehicles
expected to start the Dakar, making up nearly 25% of the field (51 bikes, 10
quads, 13 cars and 4 SSV), will be raced by newcomers to the rally. The
“Rookies” of the 2016 edition stood out by setting off on the quest of top
spots in the general classification and by winning special stages, like Kevin
Benavides, Antoine Meo (bikes), Sébastien Loeb and Mikko Hirvonen (cars). Who
will be their successors in 2017??
The Dakar baptism is both an
achievement and a springboard in the cross-country world. At the end of the
adventure, the “Rookies” sometimes shine. The list of candidates who might
accomplish this feat on the 2017 edition is long.
Source: Dakara 2017 Media room
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