Robby Gordon will begin his tenth Dakar Rally in Rosario, Argentina Jan. 5 as one of 149 international competitors as he again competes to become the first American in history to win the most extreme and demanding motorsports event in the world.
Widely regarded as one of the world’s best off-road racers, Gordon’s previous attempts at overall Dakar Rally victory have resulted in an amazing nine stage victories, however, the overall title has eluded him. In 2005, his initial Dakar Rally effort, he become the first American to win a stage in the race which began in 1979.
“I feel more prepared than in any of our previous trips to the Dakar Rally,” Gordon said. “Since our first race in 2005, where we accomplished our goal of becoming the first American to win a stage, our focus has been on winning the overall title. I believe with the experience we have, and the new car we have built, this year could be our time.”
Known for building the fastest and most innovative off-road vehicles in the world, in 2014 Gordon is introducing a brand-new race car for his Dakar effort, the lightest and most technologically advanced machine he has ever built. The car was built in North Carolina and draws off of designs and experience that have propelled him to three Baja 1000 victories, four Baja 500 victories and seven Score-International Off-Road Championships in addition to his Dakar stage victories. The SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires sponsored HST Gordini is an FIA-chassis truck built on top of 37-inch Toyo Tires and around a V-8 engine. Finding speed should not be a challenge for Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch.
KTM is excited to share with you this preview video of Marc Coma, Ruben Faria and Francisco Lopez who will begin the notoriously tough Dakar race aboard the newly designed Factory 450cc Rally machine.
The 2014 edition of the world’s most renowned rally is also new era for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team who are well prepared to face the challenges of what organizers say will be one of the longest and most difficult to date.
Starting in Rosario, Argentina on January 5 and ending in Valparaiso, Chile on January 18, riders will travel 8734 km of which a massive 5228 km is to be timed special. They will cover a wide variety of terrain in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.
The vehicles of the European competitors reached Argentina after 19 days at sea and are now waiting for their owners to come and pick them up from Campana Port, starting on the morning of December 31.
Late November was a key point in the run-up to the Dakar, as drivers and riders scrambled to Le Havre to load their vehicles onto the cargo ship. The transatlantic crossing of the motorcycles, quads, cars and trucks was in sharp contrast to all this hustle and bustle, under the watchful eyes of the crew of the Grande Roma and Dakar competitors turned sailors Luc and Simon. The sea was as smooth as glass throughout the entire trip, and the ship docked at Campana Port (80 km from Buenos Aires) right on schedule in the night of Sunday to Monday. About 30 dockers and 23 members of the Dakar teams then busied themselves with unloading the vehicles. It was a long, long day of little DIY tweaks and parking contests.
Jean-Marc, who oversaw the procedures, told us about the problems which came up: “After three weeks at sea, some tyres are deflated and some batteries have run dry. This was a recurrent problem this year. Although we made a big effort to get them running again, it took us a bit longer than usual. In addition to the race vehicles, there were the trucks and cars of the assistance crews, the organisers and the media: all in all, 700 vehicles waiting to be unloaded. We ended up closing the car park at 3 am!”
The port’s security service and three Dakar team members will watch over the vehicles at all times for a week, until the competitors come to pick them up from December 31 onwards.
Source : ASO
Photo: ASO, Archive Le Havre Port
Juan Pablo Montoya completed his first two IndyCar Series oval track tests for Team Penske this week at both Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) and Auto Club Speedway (ACS). The team was originally scheduled to test at ACS on Monday, Dec. 9 and PIR on Wednesday, Dec. 11, but high winds in Fontana, Calif. forced an adjustment to the schedule as the Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet instead ran at PIR on Tuesday and ACS on Thursday.
The tests marked the first time in an IndyCar on an oval for the 1999 CART Series champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner since the 2000 season. Team Penske teammate, Helio Castroneves, turned a handful of laps at each venue before turning things over to Montoya. Each day Montoya improved his lap times and was able to get close to the times set by Castroneves, a 16-time oval winner in IndyCar, including three Indianapolis 500 victories.
“These were two important tests for me, especially the Phoenix test,” said Montoya, who ran his first test for the team at the Sebring road course on Nov. 25-26. “The short ovals are going to be my biggest challenge because you have to run flat-out. That wasn’t the case when I was in the series in 1999 and 2000. The speed you carry through the corners is unbelievable.”
In his NASCAR Cup Series career, Montoya made a combined 25 starts at both PIR and ACS.
“The way you drive these two tracks is completely different from NASCAR to IndyCar,” continued Montoya. “We’re running about six seconds a lap faster than in NASCAR. I appreciate Helio making time to come out. He was a huge help. I learned a long time ago that it’s easier on you to work on the car and make it do what you want. Before I would just drive it but today we had a great plan and took small steps to get where we needed to be.”
In addition to Castroneves, engineers from all three Team Penske teams were in attendance at both tests. Everyone came away impressed with Montoya and excited about his addition to the Team Penske lineup.
“I told Roger (Penske) that it’s easy to see why he has so much success in this series,” said Montoya. “These cars are so fast. The people on these teams are very talented. I’m excited about this chapter of my career.”
Montoya will make his Team Penske debut in the opening race of the 2014 IndyCar Series season at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 30. Montoya will participate in several more test sessions with the team over the next several weeks to continue his preparation for the 2014 season.
Source: Team Penske
Photo: IndyCar Media
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