Jeremías Israel is ready for the challenge. The chilean rider will have a brand new bike for Dakar 2014, a Speedbrain 450 Rally racing under the MAPFRE Speedbrain banner. “Jere” will try to improve his 57° place finish in the 2013 Dakar, but the truth is he wants much more, because he was riding in the Top 25 after two bad stages for mechanical issues. Jeremías will count with a water carrier, in Pedro Oliviera and three support vehicles on route: two cars and one big Mercedes truck. He will be backed by insurance company MAPFRE, which sponsors other big sportsmen like Rafael Nadal and Team Aspar in Moto2 of MotoGP.
Jeremías started working on Dakar 2014 on the very first day after finishing Dakar 2013 and feels ready to fight for top spots. He will be racing with number 38 between the elite riders, so the pressure is already mounting for the chilean, but he is sure he is going to be able to perform after a great year that saw him battle for the Top 10 in the Morocco Rally in his debut with the Speedbrain bike.
We spoke with Chris Pfeiffer at Marriott Santiago Hotel while he was staying in Chile for BMW Motorrad Days. Pfeiffer is a world class stunt bike rider, that has a lot of experience and is known around the whole world for his tricks and stunts. He has performed at very important events, as the start of the Dakar Rally, the Race of Champions and international Auto and Moto Shows. This was his second time in Chile, the first time he visited us was in 2008, for Salón del Automóvil de Santiago.
In this interview we talk with Chris about his career, his favourite stunts, his experience in Chile, how is it to meet drivers and celebrities doing his stunts and more. Don’t miss it!
It didn’t take Juan Pablo Montoya long to get the hang of an IZOD IndyCar Series car.
Team Penske’s newest driver sampled his Chevrolet-powered Indy car for the first time on Nov. 25 during the first day of a two-day test at Sebring International Raceway. The goal was to get the former Indianapolis 500, Formula One and NASCAR race winner comfortable in the car he’ll race in 2014.
“The biggest thing is that everything is still happening really fast, Montoya said. “It’s OK, but as it happens so fast you end up making mistakes. With more time in the car, everything will slow down and it will be easier. It’s happened to me before a few times, so I know that with time everything will be easier.”
Still, Montoya looked at home as he adapted to driving an open-wheel car for the first time since he left Formula One for NASCAR in 2006. He turned 20 laps during the morning test session and ran times comparable to Will Power, who the team brought in to set up the car for his new teammate.
“You don’t win races in Formula One and poles in Formula One and races in the CART Series on your first try if you’re slow,” Power said. “I actually expected to learn from him. He’s already brought some good ideas to the team even before he got in the car. Just from what I see from the data he has a very similar style to me. The way he brakes and everything. That should be good as far as our setups.”
The initial results also impressed one of his new bosses – Penske Racing President Tim Cindric, who said the task for the 1999 CART champion will be learning the nuances of racing in the IndyCar Series.
“He was within a few tenths of Will in the first outing,” Cindric said. “It was pretty impressive, really. We put him out on old tires just to learn where the gear shifts were and then put him back on Will’s tire and he was within a couple tenths right out of the box. Right now it’s happening pretty fast, he’s probably a half a second off the guys who were here last week, but that’s not too bad. Finding the last half second without losing his confidence will be the challenge.”
Montoya returns to car for another day of testing at Sebring. While he gave himself a grade of 8 out of 10. He said his goal for the test is to gain knowledge that he can use to help the entire team get better.
“Do I want to win? Of course I want to win,” he said. “Do I want to do the best I can. Yeah. How good is that going to be? I don’t know. You have to beat Will, who is one of the fastest guys in the series. Helio has a ton of experience. I ran against him when I won the championship, and he’s still doing it. For them to get in the car every day, this is there home, and I need to make this my home.”
Photo: John Hendrick
The adventure sometimes even begins long before the race! The meeting point of Le Havre for loading of the European vehicles was difficult to reach for some competitors, but the cargo ship will be full up for its crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
Getting to Le Havre already seems like a victory. For many Dakar competitors, the challenge is spread over several months, even several years. With the difficulty in getting a budget together, the meticulous preparatory work on the vehicle, the races and tests that are essential to get the riders or drivers used to the discipline’s requirements, the preparatory stages are often long and tedious before earning a place on the starting line. For the European competitors, it is symbolically reached when they load their vehicle onto the boat sailing for South America. This year, the road to Le Havre was not an easy journey for everyone. The bad weather currently affecting the centre of France made life very difficult for Patrick Sireyjol, for example, who left Saint-Etienne in the snow on Thursday morning, heading towards Normandy. At a different end of the scale, keen strategist Robby Gordon, also very thorough when it comes to managing transport costs, has already inflicted a memorable journey on his assistance trucks. After having left his workshops in California and headed to New York, where a first cargo ship took them to Antwerp, the mechanics and their precious cargo reacquainted themselves with Robby in Paris for the presentation of the rally. It was on the road to Le Havre that the American met with his first navigation problems, because he took at least half a day to cover the 200 kilometres between the French capital and the docks!
The journey was not as complicated for everybody. Whether they came from Spain, in the case of the GasGas bikes, for example, the Czech Republic in the case of the brand new truck belonging to Ales Loprais, or from the far of reaches of Tatarstan for the Kamaz team, most of the competitors arrived on time to comply with the administrative scrutineering (customs formalities, etc.) and technical scrutineering (installation of stickers and safety equipment, etc.). However, some late arrivals have already stood out from the crowd: with the aim of fine-tuning their cars to perfection for their debut on the rally, the Ford team engineers and mechanics worked in their German workshops right up to the last minute and were still 400 km away from Le Havre in the middle of the afternoon… with the assurance of finishing in last place on this link stage, which fortunately does not count towards the race! In total, 670 race, assistance, organisation and press vehicles took their places in the massive hold of the Grande Roma for a three-week long crossing to the EuroAmerica port, near to Buenos Aires.
Source: Dakar Press
Photo: ASO / DPPI
Robby Gordon previews the 2014 Dakar by talking about his new Dakar car, based on the Stadium Super Truck he designed for his own series in United States and Canada. Gordon did this interview at the launch of the Dakar in Paris, last week. Don’t miss it!
As the countdown begins for the world’s toughest off-road race, Yamaha Racing took the opportunity to catch up with Cyril Despres to review his first months in blue. The Five-time Dakar champion signed with Yamaha early this year to become the Japanese manufacturer’s latest weapon in the bid for 2014 Dakar glory.
Despres had the opportunity to test the Yamaha 450 based machine in Dakar type conditions in the 2013 Rally Dos Sertoes earlier this year, putting in a strong performance to come second overall.
Despres will compete in the 2014 Dakar Rally alongside fellow Yamaha riders Olivier Pain, Frans Verhoeven and Michael Metge .
The teams infrastructure will shortly be loaded onto ships for the long journey to South America however the bikes will remain here and be airlifted at a later date. This extra time provides a precious opportunity for further last minute testing before what is shaping up to be the toughest Dakar challenge yet with new countries and tough terrain to be mastered.
The 2014 Dakar will have longer special stages than ever before, winding through Argentina, Bolivia and Chile as it tests the riders and their machines to their limits. The Rally will run from the 5th to the 18th January.
Source: Yamaha Racing
X-raid is going to contest the 2014 Dakar held in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile with the biggest driver line-up in its history. In addition to the four Monster Energy X-raid Team drivers – Stéphane Peterhansel, Nani Roma, Krzysztof Holowczyc and Orlando Terranova and the recently announced Nasser al Attiyah – who all will race a MINI ALL4 Racing, the service park will feature another six MINI ALL4 Racing and a BMW X3 CC.
The South American motor-racing enthusiasts may be particularly happy. Altogether, the continent will be represented by four drivers. Apart from Terranova, the two pairings Federico Villagra / Jorge Perez Companc (MINI ALL4 Racing) and Adrian Yacopini / Marco Scopinaro (BMW X3 CC) are also Argentinean. Villagra mainly has got World Rally Championship experience under his belt, to date, but in October, in the Morocco Rally, he succeeded in attracting a lot of attention. There, he demonstrated that he is quick and safe also in the dunes. While Yacopini already demonstrated that he has got what it takes to drive the BMW X3 CC consistently and without taking unnecessary risks.
The fourth South American driver is Chile’s Boris Garafulic who is going to once again race the Dakar with his French co-driver Gilles Picard. In the previous two Dakar Rally editions –Garafulic also started for X-raid – the Chilean proved that he is a top-15 driver. He once again will race the MINI ALL4 Racing in the Chilean colours.
With Poland’s Martin Kaczmarski, the X-raid Team line-up also comprises a Dakar rookie. The 23-year old has been contesting off-road and cross-county rallies for just two years, now. In his appearances to date he impressed with his pace. In the passenger seat of his MINI ALL4 Racing, the experienced Portuguese co-driver Filipe Palmeiro will be responsible for the navigation.
Russia’s Vladimir Vasilyev and his Ukrainian co-driver Vitaly Yevtyekhov are well-known faces in the off-road rally fraternity. Vasilyev already raced a MINI ALL4 Racing in the 2012 Baja Portalegre. Now he wants to also go for it with X-raid in the Dakar Rally. He secured the fine third place in the Morocco Rally and in addition he won a special stage. Further, he finished runner-up in the Silk way Rally and secured the title in the Russian Off Road Championship.
Meanwhile, Zhou Yong is the first Chinese driver to race with X-raid. He already has got the experience of six Dakar appearances under his belt and finished 19th in the 2012 and 2013 editions of the legendary desert rally. And this October he won the China Grand Rally. He also will race a MINI ALL4 Racing, in the 2014 Dakar.
The German pairing Stephan Schott / Holm Schmidt also is going to race again the 2014 Dakar with a MINI ALL4 Racing. It’s the sixth Dakar for Schott and his second with the MINI ALL4 Racing. This year, he attracted particular attention with his impressive seventh place in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.
“We can rely on a competitive team, in the Dakar”, says X-raid Team Manager Sven Quandt. “Our line-up comprises several faces that are well-known from the previous Dakar Rallies but some newcomers, too. I’m convinced that some of them could be good for a surprise. Certainly a lot of people will keep an eye on Zhou Yong, the first Chinese driver in a top car. The 12-vehicle line-up also represents a major logistic challenge for us. In this area, our experiences gathered in the past years will prove to be helpful.”
Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (SPM) has signed 26-year-old Russian Mikhail Aleshin, who most recently competed in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, to drive its second entry for the 2014 IndyCar season.
Aleshin got his first seat time in an IndyCar on Nov. 18 when he tested with SPM at Sebring International Raceway.
“(Sebring) was my first test in an IndyCar and things were much different than what I’m used to inside the car,” Aleshin said. “In Europe there are different standards, but I like (the IndyCar) already, it’s really fun to drive. ”
The Moscow-native won the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship in 2010 and tested the Lotus Renault F1 car as well as the Red Bull F1 car before setting his sights on the North American based IndyCar Series.
“The last two or three years I’ve been looking in this direction and at one point in the middle of the 2013 season I decided that I just needed to change something,” Aleshin reflected. “SMP Racing, my main sponsor, decided it would be a good idea to try something in the U.S. because there are no Russian drivers at this level, and considering the experience I have we thought it would all come together (in IndyCar).”
SPM team owner Sam Schmidt is looking forward to adding Aleshin alongside third-year IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud who collected two wins and finished third in the 2013 IndyCar Series Championship.
“We are extremely pleased to have Mikhail (Aleshin) partnered with Simon (Pagenaud) for the 2014 season,” Schmidt said. “He is very mature and talented, but like so many up and coming drivers in the European system, there just weren’t enough opportunities for him to advance to F1. We have already found his driving style to be very similar to Simon’s and believe he can contribute immediately to the program, even as a rookie.”
Source: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
Brazilian racer Luis Felipe “Pipo” Derani will join Team Pelfrey for the 2014 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
Derani, 20, began his racing career in karts, winning the prestigious Paulista Junior championship in 2005. He made the switch to cars in 2009, and since then has been based in Europe, competing in Formula Renault, British Formula 3 and the European Formula 3 series.
He said he chose Pro Mazda to help him reach his goals of competing in the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 in 2016.
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmmuggianu/ – CC
The cars driven by reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, 2012 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, Will Power and Graham Rahal are part of the new Forza Motorsport 5 game developed by Turn 10 Studios.
The Microsoft-published game is one of the launch products for the Xbox One console and is now available.
“Including open-wheel cars in Forza Motorsport 5 brings Forza fans a whole new world of racing action,” said Alan Hartman, studio manager for Turn 10 Studios.
“Players will be able to drive these incredible cars on a collection of world-famous race circuits. In addition, the brand new graphics engine in Forza Motorsport 5, powered by the Xbox One, will let Forza players get closer than ever to these amazing cars and to really build an appreciation for these masterpieces of race engineering.”
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