The 40th edition of the Dakar
Rally continues to challenge man and machine as it progresses beyond the 5th
stage to complete its 14 stages spread over 9000 km. This is the 10th Dakar to
be held in South America . The rally is following a treacherous, tough and
dangerous route cutting across three countries Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. All
other motor rallies in the world look like a walk in the park when compared to
the Dakar Rally, where both organisational skills and the endurance and stamina
of the participants have to be top notch. Heartburns, casualties and exits are
beginning to happen in droves.
The Dakar rally first
revisited the Pacific Ocean and the dunes of Peru, which drivers and riders
tackled after a few days sampling the delights of the capital, Lima.
Competitors now head through to Bolivia, for a welcome rest day in the festive
atmosphere of La Paz. In its final leg, the rally moves into Argentina where
the vehicles will head towards Córdoba, host to the Dakar finish line for the
Off the 14 stages, seven are
100per cent off-road and dunes. Of the 14 days of rallying, five days would be at
an altitude of more than 3000 meters. Thus, from extreme dust and heat to
extreme cold and altitudes, this rally will see it all. January 12, 2018 will be the first rest day
Coming to exits, the latest to
leave the sporting arena was India’s Aravind KP, representing Sherco TVS Rally
Team. He crashed out of the race during stage 5 and is in hospital nursing his
Just before Aravind crashed
out, many big guns too called it a day after the Peru journey. The dunes of
Peru buried the hopes of many competitors. Sam Sunderland, Fabricio Fuentes,
Walter Nosiglia, Cristóbal Guldman and Jesús Puras are no longer in the race in
the motorcycle category. Xavier Foj, Ebert Dollevoet, Jorge Wagenfuhr, Alicia
Reina, Andre Villas-Boas, Balázs Szalay, Pierre Tuheil, Stefano Marrini,
Roberto Recalde and Diego Weber are also out of reckoning. The stage 5 truck
stage was also brutal, with Jordi Juvanteny, Ed Wigman, Antonio Cabini, Paolo
Calabria, Nicola Montecchio amd Robert Randysek leaving the race. Finally,
Sebastien Souday will not be making it to the finish in Córdoba this year.
Sergey Karyakin fell at km 44
and broke his arm. The Dakar is probably over for the defending champion in the
quad category, the only man who has been able to push Ignacio Casale hard since
the start of the rally!
In the car category, Sébastien
Loeb told the organisers he will not be continuing the 2018 Dakar. Daniel
Elena, his co-driver, is unable to continue for health reasons. The Alsatian
driver will not make it to the end of his third Dakar.
A large number of them did not
make it past the third stage. Bikes: Ondrej Klymciw, Ignacio Sanchís, Elric
Lambert. Cars: Sergey Shikhotarov, Gerard Tramoni, Henri Vansteenbergen, Jorge
Mansilla, Carlos Villegas, Philippe Raud, Emmanuel Baltes-Mougeot, Ronan
Chabot, Roger Audas, Rainer Wissmanns, Ignacio Villegas. Quads: Christian
Cajica Pinto, Tomáš Kubiena, Gastón González. SxS: Pedro De Mello Breyner.
Trucks: Jordi Juvanteny, Yoshimasa Sugawara, Michel Saumet, Sylvain Besnard.
Early on, following his crash
less than one kilometre from the finish of stage 4 special, Nani Roma was
airlifted to hospital in Lima, meaning that the winner in 2014 and the major
hope for Mini prematurely exited the Dakar.
Stage 2 which was the first
major stage on the Dakar, wreaked havoc in the ranks of the competitors. Adrien
Metge, Pablo Pascual, Charles Cuypers, Jakub Piatek, Danny Nogales, Stéphane
Bouvier, Jeroen Ramon, Olivier Hembert, Lajos Horvath and Arturo Chirinos were
all among the bikers who exited the rally. Bryce Menzies, Sebastian Guayasamin
and Ramon Nunez dropped out in the car category, just like Mariano Bennazar in
the quad race and Georges Ginesta in the truck category. h the start of the
third stage in time…
Nani Roma had a spectacular
accident less than one kilometre from the finishing line. It took him a certain
amount of time to get over the shock, but the Spaniard was able to resume
racing and cross the line 26 minutes behind the stage winner, before being
examined by the race medical team.
During stage 1, the opening
stage, two bikers got knocked out of the race. Jürgen Drössiger, who at age 53
was fulfilling his childhood dream of racing the Dakar, broke his arm in the
liaison, while another Dakar rookie, Joaquim Rodrigues, crashed a few hundred
metres into the special. The Portuguese rider suffered a spectacular crash
shortly after the start of the opening special and had to be evacuated from the
course. Rodrigues still managed to put on a smile at the hospital in Ica.
The dunes near Peru claimed
their first victim in the car category after Jad Comair and Antoine Iskandar's
BMW did a barrel roll. The Lebanese crew emerged unscathed from the crash.
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