Let us not just hail the
winners in each of the categories of the 40th edition of Dakar Rally in 2018,
whether it is Matthias Walkner of Red Bull KTM Factory Team in the bike
section, or Ignacio Casale of Casale Racing in the quad section. Or as a matter
of fact, let us not just applaud Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz of Team Peugeot Total in the car
section or the troika of Eduard Nikolaev,
Evgeny Yakovlev and Vladimir Rybakov of Kamaz – Master in the trucks
section or the pair consisting of Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin of South
Racing - Can Am in the SxS section.
Overall Results for Bikes
RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM
MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM
HERO MOTOSPORTS TEAM RALLY
JUAN PEDRERO GARCIA
SHERCO TVS RALLY FACTORY
SANTOSH CHUNCHUNGUPPE SHIVASHANKAR
Overall Results for Quads
TEAM AL DESERT
JEREMIAS GONZALEZ FERIOLI
CONSULTORES DE EMPRESAS
Overall Results for SxS
SOUTH RACING - CAN AM
XTREMEPLUS POLARIS FACTORY
Overall results for Cars
TEAM PEUGEOT TOTAL
TOYOTA GAZOO RACING SA
GINIEL DE VILLIERS
DIRK VON ZITZEWITZ
results for Trucks
KAMAZ - MASTER
The winners are each of the
participants at the Dakar who may or may not have completed the 13 stages of
the rally (Of the 14 stages, one was cancelled). Because at Dakar they say
Dream, Dare and Live it. The ones who got off the starting line at Lima in Peru
need to be saluted for having dreamt, dared and lived it. And that does not
just include the gritty men but also the several female participants who proved
to the world that they too are made of the sterner stuff.
Two Indian motorcycle
companies Hero MotoCorp and TVS Motor Company too need to be applauded for
getting three riders each to compete in the rally. While a rookie for Hero
MotoSports Team Rally Oriol Mena came in 7th overall, for Sherco TVS
Rally Factory it was a 40 year old man with a massive build Juan Pedrero Garcia
who was the sole rider to finish the race and come in 11th overall. Our
very own Indian rider from Hero MotoSports Santosh Chunchunguppe Shivashankar
or as CS Santosh as he is known here in India, came in 34th overall.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW VIDEO OF INTERVIEW
WITH SHERCO TVS RIDERS
While Hero’s Joaquim Rodrigues
was knocked off the contention very early in the race, Sherco TVS’ Adrien Metge
and Aravind KP too withdrew after being injured.
A special mention needs to be
made of Laia Sanz the gritty female rider representing KTM Factory Racing Team
who completed the race and came in 12th overall. In the quad section
too, Olga Rouckova, another female rider, representing Moto Racing Group (MRG)
finished the race in 26th position.
The rally which started on
January 6, 2018 ended on January 20 with one day of rest and one cancelled
stage. It crossed three countries starting from Peru, then to Bolivia and
finally ended in Argentina’s Cordoba.
This was the 10th Dakar to be held
in South America. Córdoba was host to the Dakar finish line for the first time.
The race which started from South America’s Lima in Peru to Pisco to San Juan
De Marcona to Arequipa to La Paz in Bolivia, then to Uyuni to Tupiza and Salta,
Belen, Chilecito and then San Juan and finally to Cordoba in Argentina was no ordinary
track. The race was divided into 14 stages covering more than 9000 km. Stage 9
was cancelled because of bad weather. Seven of the stages consisted of 100pc
dunes and off-road.
When the race started more
than 500 competitors were in the fray. There were 11 women on the start list. The
traditional motorcycle, quad, car and truck categories was joined by the S×S
for the second year running. These light-weight buggies limited to 1000 cc saw
11 crews participating this year. Around 188 motorcycles and quads, 103 cars and
S×S and 44 trucks were cleared to start the 40th edition of the Dakar. Around 114
of the 523 competitors made their Dakar debut, while 51 had already taken part
in 10 editions or more.
In the last stage, the victories
achieved by Kevin Benavides in the bike race, Ignacio Casale in the quad
category, Giniel de Villiers in the car race and Ton van Genugten in the truck
category did not affect the positions at the top of the rally’s hierarchy.
Matthias Walkner became the first Austrian winner on a bike, with Austrian
brand KTM continuing to dominate the event thanks to a 17th
consecutive success. For its
last participation, Peugeot also retained the title, but this time only one of
their cars was on the podium, namely the 3008 Maxi driven by winner Carlos
Sainz. Under threat until the day before the finish from Federico Villagra, in
the end Eduard Nikolaev obtained a third title behind the wheel of his Kamaz.
As for Chilean Ignacio Casale, to win his 2nd Dakar he dominated the
general standings from start to finish.
In total, 191 vehicles
completed the 40th edition: 85 bikes, 32 quads, 49 cars including 6 SxS and 25
trucks, meaning 55% of the competitors that set out from Lima two weeks ago
reached the finish. More open than ever before, the bike race soon produced its
first surprise with the premature exit from the rally of Sam Sunderland in the
dunes of San Juan de Marcona on only day 4 of the rally. The title holder and
winner of 2 out of the first 3 stages left the field clear for a hungry chasing
pack led by the new guard represented by Adrien van Beveren and Kevin Benavides.
The two men challenged the usual domination of KTM, exchanging the lead in the
general standings on several occasions. This battle was interspersed with
exploits from Joan Barreda or Antoine Meo, before an intense and devastating tenth
stage. A day which should have allowed the young Argentinean to triumph in his
home country instead put an end to his hopes due to a terrible navigational
error in the river beds of Belén towards the end of the special. He dragged a
good number of the favourites down with him, including Toby Price, with
Matthias Walkner and Van Beveren the only leading riders to come
out unscathed. However, the
Yamaha rider did not remain unharmed due to a terrible fall 3 km from the
finish, which put the Austrian in sole command of the Dakar. Controlling the
race perfectly up to the end of the event, at the age of 31 years the Austrian
has grabbed the biggest prize of his career, allowing KTM to continue an
incredible sequence of 17 consecutive triumphs.
The day after his first stage
victory and the 10th of his career on the Dakar, Sébastien Loeb was forced to
exit the race, undone by the Tanaka Desert’s dunes! It was not the first or
last dramatic turn of events in this unpredictable and untameable Dakar: Nani
Roma rolled out of the rally early, on the loop around Pisco, whilst Stéphane
Peterhansel lost the lead of the rally following an accident on the marathon
stage at Uyuni. Even a dunes specialist like Nasser Al Attiyah got stuck in the
sand around San Juan de Marcona and lost more than one hour after just four
days of racing! In the midst of this carnage, Carlos Sainz put in a faultless
performance which nobody had been expecting from him. “El Matador” was precise
in his attacks, reeled in the lead and then controlled the race with assurance
behind the wheel of his 3008 Maxi. In Córdoba, he climbed onto the top step of
the podium that is strikingly similar to that of 2010, when the Spaniard also
beat Al Attiyah (by just 2 minutes). Giniel de Villiers finished in the top 3
for the 8th time in 15 participations, while Stéphane Peterhansel missed out,
after slipping off the podium the day before the finish.
With three consecutive
victories on the first three stages, Ignacio Casale spread panic among his
rivals in the quad category. Sergey Karyakin, the distanced title holder,
exited the rally injured, just like Rafal Sonik, the winner in 2015. In
imperial form in the dunes, the Chilean was also able to boss the rest of the
pack, whilst allowing leeway for expression on their home terrain to two young
Argentineans who represent the future of the discipline: Nicolas Cavigliasso,
26 years old, and Jeremias González Ferioli, 22. The three men made up the
final podium in this order.
Eduard Nikolaev started his
eighth Dakar at one hell of a pace. Thanks to imperial performances in the
Peruvian dunes, the 2017 champion soon opened up big gaps over all his rivals,
except for the tenacious Federico Villagra. The Argentinean was the only driver
able to take the battle to the Kamaz clan leader and had to grin and bear it
during the first week, before putting the Russian under pressure as well as
taking the general standings lead from him. However, a gearbox problem put paid
to the Iveco driver’s hopes as he exited the race the day before the finish.
This let Nikolaev triumph for the 3rd time on the Dakar. The runner-up, Siarhei
Viazovich, finished the rally more than 4 hours behind him.
For the second year of the SxS
category, Reinaldo Varela displayed superb consistency at the forefront of the
category, with 5 stage victories enabling him to occupy the top step on the
podium. The Brazilian was involved in a fierce battle with Frenchman Patrice
Garrouste, who also picked up 5 stage wins.
Source: Dakar Media Room
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