The last day of this ultra-challenging Dakar Rally had one final surprise left in store for competitors who had braved the conditions to make it that far. Torrential rainfall created a dangerously slippery piste that led to race organisers shortening today’s timed special stage. It turned out to be good news for the overnight leaders of all four race categories as they were able to hold their positions on the route into Buenos Aires.
Walking away with his fifth bike title after a display of consistent speed combined with immense race management know-how is Marc Coma. The biggest threat came from Joan Barreda who led the race by over 12m from Marc in the first week. The Red Bull KTM Factory Team captain successfully chased down Joan to score this extra special win as it’s the first time he’s been able to string together back-to-back victories.
The Spaniard is now without doubt among the pantheon of Dakar greats, alongside his “best of enemies” Cyril Despres who also collected five bike wins. It would now appear to be Marc’s choice of how many more bike wins he wishes to rack up before switching to four-wheels.
Joining Marc in bringing their KTM 450 RALLY bikes over the finish-line were Ruben Faria, sixth overall, and Kuba Przygonski, 18th overall after overcoming mechanical problems on the final stage. There was a tactical play from Honda bikers Joan Barreda and Hélder Rodrigues as they waited on the stage for team-mate Paulo Gonçalves before accompanying the Portuguese biker to the finish-line to ensure his second place overall.
Marc Coma’s dominant display on two-wheels to give KTM their 14th consecutive Dakar title was matched in the car class by Nasser Al-Attiyah as the Qatari led the race from the second day before toasting victory at the conclusion of the final stage. The Qatar Rally Team racer and co-driver Matthieu Baumel have been the personification of cool from beginning to end, controlling the race, going fastest on six stages and never finishing a stage lower that seventh (with Nasser suffering from altitude sickness on that occasion). It will be some celebration tonight as Nasser is crowned Dakar champ for a second time and Matthieu scores his first win on his birthday of all days.
Also holding the same overall position since the second stage of the car race was Giniel de Villiers as the former Dakar champion records his third runner-up finish and fifth podium at the desert classic. It was a rally that steadily improved for Dakar debutants Team Peugeot-Total who quickly got over the disappointment of Carlos Sainz rolling out of the race in the first week to start putting together some real consistency. Stéphane Peterhansel recorded eight top 10 stage results to finish up 11th overall while car-race newcomer Cyril Despres’ rapid education saw him rise up the rankings in the final stages to eventually place 34th in the general classification. Marek Dabrowski, always willing to show grit and determination at the Dakar, battled through extremely tough circumstances to finish the race with the 23rd best time among the cars.
While the bike and car races provided masterclasses in how to lead from the front, the most emotion-packed victory was to be found in the truck class. Ayrat Mardeev followed in his late father’s footsteps in becoming a racing driver for Kamaz Master and today he managed to achieve the dream that always eluded Ilgizar Mardeev, who passed away six month ago – winning the Dakar Rally. The Russian team were visibly overcome by the result as they embraced at the finish-line with Kamaz Master trucks parked in all three podium positions – thanks to previous Dakar winners Eduard Nikolaev and Andrey Karginov who ended the race second and third respectively.
With a trio of category winners among the Red Bull family at this year’s Dakar we also extend our salute to all the guys who made this edition of the race so memorable. Highlights included Dakar debutant Matthias Walkner’s incredible win on stage 3 of the bike race. We’ll now be counting down the next 50 weeks until the toughest rally on the planet gets underway again, and with it, all that blood, sweat and tears.
Final results (Cars):
1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) Qatar Rally Team 40h 32m 25s
2. Giniel de Villiers (RSA) Toyota All Speed +00:35:34
3. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL) Mini +01:32:01
11. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) Team Peugeot-Total +05:19:15
23. Marek Dabrowski (POL) Toyota +11:08:43
34. Cyril Despres (FRA) Team Peugeot-Total +15:38:07
Final results (Bikes):
1. Marc Coma (ESP) KTM 46h 03m 06s
2. Paulo Gonçalves (PRT) Honda +00:16:53
3. Toby Price (AUS) KTM +00:23:14
6. Ruben Faria (PRT) KTM +01:57:50
12. Hélder Rodrigues (PRT) Honda +04:00:00
17. Joan Barreda (ESP) Honda +05:54:35
18. Kuba Przygonski (POL) KTM +06:21:12
Final results (Trucks):
1. Ayrat Mardeev (RUS) Kamaz 42h 22m 01s
2. Eduard Nikolaev (RUS) Kamaz +00:13:52
3. Andrey Karginov (RUS) Kamaz +00:51:00
5. Dmitry Sotnikov (RUS) Kamaz +02:24:32
Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
Sonik Team’s Rafal Sonik has claimed his first Dakar victory on the Yamaha Raptor 700. Securing two stage wins, four second places and one third place ensured he was a favourite to win the 2015 Dakar. Sonik was a contender from the outset, finishing the race with almost a three hour lead over his closest rival.
The Polish rider had a consistent start to this year’s Dakar, which proved to be key. Finding his groove over the first three stages, he soon took over the lead in the general standings from fellow Yamaha Raptor 700 Rider Ignacio Casale and dominated the fourth and fifth stage.
The quad category turned into a heated duel between the two Yamaha riders and as expected Casale didn’t give up easily. Sonik managed to hold on to the overall lead for most of the Rally and managed to build his four-minute overall lead to almost three hours as key rivals withdrew.
Over the last three stages, Sonik’s biggest enemies became the elements. Rain and storms made the roads slippery, but he kept his focus and cautiously cruised back to Buenos Aires to claim victory.
Sonik’s passion for Dakar and quad racing was never shaken as he waited seven years to see his dream come true. In 2000, he created Poland’s quad federation, ATV Polska. Nine years later he entered his first Dakar, finishing in third place, an amazing achievement that he repeated in 2013 when he also founded the Poland National Team.
Last year ‘Super Sonik’ came very close to his first win, but in the end had to be satisfied with second. Having matured from his previous Dakar experiences, he learned many valuable lessons about racing and himself, which he used to his advantage this year.
“I’ve been looking forward to this moment for seven years and I never stopped believing. This victory’s for everyone who dreams of the Dakar but can’t take part in it. I want to share this victory with Yamaha and all the people in my team, who’ve never stopped dreaming of the Dakar. I think they deserve this victory too.” said Sonik.
The Dakar 2015 is over. It was tough, it was very hard, especially the final stages at Uyuni and even the closing stage with some rain near Buenos Aires. This are the winners and podium finishers of this edition of the rally:
Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
Five riders will line up on the new factory Honda CRF450 RALLY; Joan Barreda (Spain, 31), Paulo Goncalves (Portugal, 35), Helder Rodrigues (Portugal, 35), Jeremias Israel (Chile, 33), and Laia Sanz (Spain, 28).
This new Team HRC will set off for the Rally OiLibya du Maroc, on October 3rd in Erfoud (Morocco) in order to prepare for the world’s most difficult and challenging off-road event: the Dakar Rally which begins on 4th January 2015 in Buenos Aires (Argentina). The two week long 9,000 kilometres Dakar crosses Argentina, Bolivia and Chilean territories, and takes in all kinds of terrain, concluding on the 17th January in the Argentinian capital.
Joan Barreda, Paulo Goncalves and Helder Rodrigues have participated in several rounds of the 2014 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. This season, Paulo Goncalves, current World Champion, has won the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the first round of the Championship, and Joan Barreda has won the Sealine Qatar Rally. Goncalves is currently in second place, and will be in the running for the title in Morocco. New additions to the team are Chilean Jeremias Israel and Dakar’s female-class winner Laia Sanz.
Team HRC’s aim is to win the Dakar; the most prestigious and gruelling off road motorcycle race in the world. An exceptional work bench for the bike, which subsequently will become tomorrow’s mass-production model.
The staff members are led by Large Project Leader Katsumi Yamazaki, General Manager Martino Bianchi, and Team Manager Wolfgang Fischer.
Team HRC welcome KH-7 as new partner of the Team in the Dakar Rally Project.
What they said
Martino Bianchi, general manager HRC: “This new Team HRC has enormous potential. It combines the best virtues of different drivers for a winning team. We’ve shown that we are a winning team, and so we can only win “The Rally”. The Dakar rally it’s more than a race: it’s the mother of all rally-raids. It’s an adventure, and it’s a great challenge. The race 9,000 km and is full of traps, but the prestige for the winner is enormous. And that will be our main goal. We’ll start 2015 with the intention to win the Dakar, with our talented team with so many assets, and with a great bike.”
Joan Barreda: “We will fight for the victory in the Dakar, is our target! The last Dakar was very intense, very hard, difficult day after day, but we were always ahead and never give up despite accidents or set-backs. We showed that we have a bike capable of winning and a team that works for it. Honda wants to win and hopefully this year we can make it in first. We have all worked hard to achieve this main objective.”
Helder Rodrigues: “Since we started the project at the end of 2012, we have been constantly improving. The CRF450 RALLY is a really marvellous/excellent bike. HRC has done an extraordinary job on this bike. Recently, we have performed some tests, and it has been much more competitive and reliable. It is lighter and more powerful. We have the best weapon to fight for the win, I’m certain.”
Paulo Goncalves: “As you said, there are a lot of different kinds of terrain and it’s incredible how you are always in control of the Honda CRF450 RALLY. It’s very small, powerful and easy to ride. It’s the best bike I’ve ever had and I’m sure it was an important element in becoming world champion. It’s a fantastic bike and if I could, I’ll marry her!”
Jeremías Israel: “What I can say? I’m very happy and proud to form part of an organisation like Team HRC. I would never have dreamt of being here. These riders are the best in the rally-raid world and the bike is marvellous. It’s like a real Moto GP bike created for the desert.”
Laia Sanz: “Last year I rode the best bike that I have ever ridden, and I was able to get some good results. This year, the bike is better and there will be more pressure, but I will continue to do my best on the tracks and try to help the Team HRC to reach the goal for this race. I will join the Team in Morocco for my first world round race and I hope everything goes well.”
The Region of Tarapacá will be focus of attention in Chile in the Dakar 2015, showing the world its magnificent desert, dunes and a three-day stay in the city (10, 11 and 12 January) for the four categories. This has been officially announced by the region’s main authorities and race director Etienne Lavigne.
The starting signal for the 2015 Dakar Rally took place against the backdrop of the waves crashing against the shore near the Regional Council’s offices, in a ceremony attended this week in Iquique by the Governor of the Region of Tarapacá, Mitchel Cartes, Dakar Rally Director Etienne Lavigne, Under-Secretary for Sports Nicole Sáez, the Mayor of Iquique, Jorge Soria and the Mayor of Alto Hospicio, Ramón Galleguillos.
The Under-Secretary for Sport reminded those present that the confirmation of the Dakar 2015 was postponed following a national emergency: the earthquake that affected the north of the country. “Our responsibility as a country was to make a serious assessment of the situation, considering all the elements of the viability of the Dakar. Today we can say that we acted with the necessary rigour because the event will enable us to safeguard the country’s interests in terms of its environment and heritage.”
Dakar Director Etienne Lavigne emphasised that “the Dakar is the first great international event of 2015, and it will be able to count on major figures from the world of sport in Chile.”
In addition to the rest days on January 10th (bikes and quads) and 12th (cars) that are planned for the city of Iquique, a great attraction is the Village, a small city with events, stands and festive activities that will take place between January 9th and 11th. Fans can see the competitors and their vehicles close up, sharing the excitement of this great sports event with the general public.
The 2015 edition of the Dakar Rally, which will take place from January 4th to 17th, will return to Chile from the trans-Andean locality of Chilecito. Copiapó will be the first stop, and the route will then head for Antofagasta before reaching Iquique on January 9th so the drivers/riders and the local community can enjoy the fiesta of the Dakar.
Photo: Álvaro Milla/Mindep Tarapacá.
After grabbing public attention with the stunning new 2008 DKR, Team Peugeot-Total has finally lifted the lid on the inner workings of this muscular beast, which will take on the 4×4 brigade on the 2015 Dakar with just two driven wheels.
Dunes, mountains, dry river beds, canyons, furnace-like temperatures, salt deserts, rough terrain, fesh-fesh sand… These are just some of the joys that await the 2008 DKR on the next Dakar Rally. To tackle this tremendous challenge, Team Peugeot-Total has followed a very daring technical path: “Much like we did at the Le Mans 24 Hours by electing to run a closed-cockpit car, we decided to adopt an innovative concept,” reveals Peugeot Sport Director Bruno Famin. “When it comes to cross-country rallying, the biggest question is whether to run with four-wheel-drive or just two. After a detailed study of the question, we decided to go for two-wheel drive transmission which presents a number of interesting benefits.” This bold decision will enable the team to try to become the first to win the Dakar with a diesel-powered two-wheel drive vehicle.
In order to balance out the chances of the different solutions, the rules in effect compensate the inherent advantage of 4×4 vehicles by allowing two-wheel-drive machinery to benefit from certain advantages. Technical project manager Jean-Christophe Pallier summarises them: “In motorsport, weight is counter to performance. However, in the case of cross-country rallying, two-wheel drive cars are allowed to be significantly lighter than 4x4s. They are also entitled to use bigger wheels which provide them with a certain advantage when it comes to coping with the many pitfalls associated with this type of terrain. On top of that, they allow us to minimise the front overhang. The 2008 DKR can practically climb vertical walls! And that’s not all! Longer suspension travel – 460mm instead of 250mm – enhances its ability over dunes and when soaking up uneven ground. That’s a key asset on an event like the Dakar!” Another advantage of the larger wheel size is a system that enables the tyre pressures to be adjusted remotely from inside the cockpit upon entering a zone of dunes – a tactic that could yield a gain of precious minutes!
In order to exploit these benefits fully, Peugeot Sport’s engineers put their creativity to the test to come up with an extremely compact car. With its 340bhp, V6 twin-turbo diesel mid-rear engine, the 2008 DKR resembles a muscular feline ready to pounce and soak up obstacles. “Fitting all of the vital assemblies into such a small space gave us quite a headache!” admits Pallier. “Small cars tend to perform more comfortably over twisty WRC-type stages, so this arrangement increases the potential of two-wheel drive cars in situations where the 4x4s tend to have the edge.”
Beyond the conviction – expressed by Red Bull for the last two years – that two-wheel-drive vehicles possess attractive qualities that shine through even across the most inhospitable of terrains, this technical approach also makes sense for the French manufacturer, as Bruno Famin explains: “Given that the production 2008 is a two-wheel-drive crossover equipped with Grip Control technology – which enables it to go just about anywhere – it is only right that the 2008 DKR derivative should similarly take on the challenges of the Dakar with just two-wheel-drive.” So all that now remains is to let it off the leash!
Francisco Chaleco López is a top rider in the Cross Country world. Two podiums in seven tries of the Dakar rally, a handful of stage wins and always a threat in the first places of the Dakar, López is now missed as he has not been racing this season after hurting himself in the Dakar rally after a big accident that made him retire from the race. But you should not worry! López will be back and with his usual hunger for the win, as he confirmed his participation in the “Desafío Guaraní” rally in Paraguay. López will race there with his last spec KTM and will face rivals as David Casteu, Javier Pizzolito and Pablo Quintanilla. We can’t wait to see López back on track!
Image: Red Bull Content Pool
Good news for the Monster Energy X-raid Team and bad news for its opponents: the pairing that won the 2014 Dakar – Catalan Nani Roma and his French co-driver Michel Périn – also will contest the 2015 and 2016 editions of the prestigious event for the team based in Trebur, Germany, as the long-term cooperation will be continued for – at least – another two years. This means that the team now can fully focus on the title-defence campaign, with Roma and Périn being heavily involved in the testing and the preparations for the coming Dakar.
Joan ‘Nani’ Roma began his Dakar career on the motorbike and won the event’s motorbike ranking in 2004 to switch to four wheels, afterwards. In 2009, the Catalan joined the team from Trebur and contested the 2010 Dakar together with Périn. In the following year he raced a Nissan but returned to X-raid, after the Dakar. In 2014, he celebrated his next major success: 10 years after his first Dakar triumph, the 42-year old wins the Dakar once again – at the wheel of a MINI ALL4 Racing. Now he is one of just three drivers who succeeded in winning the Dakar on two and four wheels. In addition to pursuing his motor-racing career, Roma also is involved in charity activities: his foundation ‘La Fundación Nani Roma’ takes care of the rehabilitation of handicapped people by sports. A few weeks ago, he was decorated for these activities by the Danish embassy in Spain.
Michel Périn is – without any doubt – one of the best navigators in today’s off-road rally sport. He is well known for his extensive and painstaking preparations for a rally and – in particular – of the road book. The Frenchman already has got four Dakar triumphs under his belt – and numerous other rally wins. Just like Roma, he also joined X-raid in 2009 – and remained a member of the German team since then. He contested the 2010 Dakar together with Roma and in the following year, the Dakar debut appearance of the MINI ALL4 Racing, he was teamed-up with his compatriot Guerlain Chicherit. In 2012 he and Roma were reunited and in 2014, they won the Dakar.
“I’m really delighted about the fact that we will keep on cooperating with Nani and Michel, in the coming two years,” said Monster Energy X-raid Team Manager Sven Quandt. “They delivered in fantastic style in this year’s Dakar, in January. But the pairing is not only extremely competitive in the rallies. At the same time, they also massively support the team when it comes to enhancing the MINI ALL4 Racing. With the Toyotas and the Peugeots in the field, the coming Dakar certainly will be anything but easy but with our experience, we should have good chances, nevertheless.”
“The past months were unique,” says Nani Roma. “The Dakar with my first win on four wheels and afterwards, all the public interest – not only in Spain but all over the world. By extending our deal we made a vital step on the way to the 2015 Dakar Rally. I’m delighted with continuing the cooperation with the Monster Energy X-raid Team. The past Dakars demonstrated that beating the MINI is anything but easy.“
“I have been racing for the X-raid Team for five years now and am looking forward to the next two years of this partnership,” says Michel Périn. “In January, Nani and I finally succeeded in winning the Dakar, thus giving the Monster Energy X-raid Team their third consecutive Dakar win. Nonetheless, the coming Dakars won’t be easier. But due to our long-term cooperation we know each other very well. Now we can continue our joint efforts for the coming two years to hopefully be as successful as we were in the past.”
“I want to thank Stéphane,” said team manager Sven Quandt. “He is a fantastic driver and a great person. We have written many chapters in the history books with him. We won the first Dakar Rally with the MINI ALL4 Racing. And he has been one of the key people in making the X-raid team and the MINI ALL4 Racing grown. We have now decided to part ways by mutual consent. Our team is well structured and organised. We are very much looking forward to the next Dakar Rally and all the other challenges which lie ahead. I see a bright future for our team. We all wish Stéphane the best for his new challenge.”
The Monster Energy X-raid team and Peterhansel look back on a very successful partnership. After the Dakar Rally of 2009, the Frenchman became part of the team and drove a BMW X3 CC in the following years. In the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2011, he won the first race in the history of the MINI ALL4 Racing and in 2012 and 2013 Peterhansel won the Dakar Rally twice. The contract would have still included Dakar 2015 but, after some trusting conversations, team and driver have decided to release him already by the end of May 2014, in order to leave the frenchman the opportunity for a new challenge. His contract was dissolved amicably by mutual consent. Since, Peterhansel has signed with the Peugeot Factory team.
“After five years of successfully working together and two Dakar victories in total, I want to take on a new challenge,” explains Stéphane Peterhansel. “I very much thank Sven Quandt and all the employees of X-raid for the successful years in which I had the opportunity to drive the MINI.”
Photo: Monster Energy X-Raid Team
Stéphane Peterhansel confirmed his participation in the 2015 Dakar Rally with Team Peugeot-Total on Sunday, June 15 in somewhat unusual fashion. As he awaits his opportunity to tackle the most punishing cross-country competitions in the world aboard the 2008 DKR, the Dakar record-holder took to the cockpit of a rather different type of Peugeot racing car to hurtle down… the slopes of the Parc de Saint-Cloud, near Paris, alongside new team-mate Cyril Despres!
If this grand entrance was very clearly intended as a light-hearted bit of fun, then the recruitment of Stéphane Peterhansel to a driver line-up that already included Carlos Sainz and Cyril Despres leaves nobody in any doubt as to just how seriously Peugeot, Red Bull and Total are treating their new Dakar challenge. Indeed, the French driver is a true living legend in the world of cross-country rallying. Having tallied six triumphs in the motorcycle category and five in cars, he is the indisputable record-holder on the notoriously gruelling event. His talent – showcased on innumerable occasions – and his experience are vital assets for Team Peugeot-Total, which has now completed its ‘Dream Team’.
For Peterhansel – partnered, as ever, by loyal co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret – returning to the Dakar fray with this commando team is both a logical and obvious step: “I honestly feel very proud to be joining this team. When I began competing on motorbikes, I remember seeing Peugeot also participating on the Dakar and every evening back at camp, I would hang out with the guys from the team. It was almost unbelievable for me to be able to chat to Ari Vatanen! It is therefore entirely natural for me now to join the same team that inspired my dreams. In fact, I had been waiting for this kind of adventure to come along. For several years, I had been thinking how wonderful it would be if a company like Peugeot – which has achieved so much success on the Dakar – returned to cross-country rallying, and when the call came, I really didn’t take very much persuading…”
Far from finding himself seduced by nostalgia, however, the multiple champion was impressed most of all by the qualities of what is already a winning team: “I kept a close eye on the return of the Peugeot, Red Bull and Total triumvirate at Pikes Peak – not to mention the outstanding success that was achieved there. When we entered into discussions, the team’s motivation, commitment and technical resources were immediately evident. There is a tremendous level of engineering expertise here, and the working environment is first-class. We share the same fighting spirit and the same hunger for victory.”
At the heart of the team, Peterhansel very soon encountered several familiar faces – including that of Cyril Despres. Both former motorcyclists, the two men know each other well and wasted little time in proving as much by hurtling down the ‘slippery’ slopes of the Parc de Saint-Cloud together! “Beginning this collaboration with a race like that was unexpected to say the least,” quipped Stéphane. “It was really off-the-wall and I enjoyed it a lot. In some respects, it was a kind of baptism into the great family of Red Bull athletes. It was an honour, and it also brought back some old memories for me as when I was young, I was French Downhill Skateboarding Champion!”
For team-mate Cyril – a new convert from bikes to cars – it represented the opportunity for an initial insight into the secrets of driving such a four-wheeled racing beast, and he is looking forward to more… “Throughout my career, Stéphane has always been there to lend me a hand or offer me advice, so to now find him at my side for my debut as a car racing driver is just fantastic news!” enthused the five-time Dakar motorcycling winner.
Another well-known member of the team for Peterhansel is Carlos Sainz. Since 2006, the two men have repeatedly disputed victory at the wheel of different machinery – and now they are teammates! It is a prospect that does not faze the Team Peugeot-Total new boy: “I was a fan of Carlos for a long time back when he was competing in WRC and after that, he impressed me by successfully transferring his talents over to cross-country competition. Now, I feel very proud to be in the same team as him. I am well aware that Carlos will be a fierce rival, but I’ve always had team-mates of a high calibre and who have previously triumphed on the Dakar, so it really doesn’t concern me!” The Spaniard is similarly enthusiastic about the new partnership: “Stéphane’s an extremely positive addition. He knows the Dakar like the back of his hand, and he will be able to teach both the team and myself a great deal. Of course, his arrival puts me under a bit more pressure, but that will only serve to inspire me to strive for new heights alongside my co-driver Lucas Cruz, with whom I won the event in 2010.”
With Sainz, Despres and Peterhansel on the driving force, Peugeot, Red Bull and Total have the ideal line-up. Peugeot Sport Director, Bruno Famin, is delighted: “It is incredible to have signed these three legendary drivers who have achieved so much success over the years! It is an extraordinary team, and the three of them complement each other perfectly. I hope we will be able to give Carlos and Stéphane a car that allows them to fight for victory from the very first attempt in 2015, whilst Cyril will necessarily face an initial learning curve. Stéphane’s arrival helps us to further reinforce the depth of experience inside the team and its development capabilities. This uniquely talented trio will provide everybody with a great boost to build a formidable car.”
If we add to the four triumphs notched up by Peugeot on the Dakar, Sainz’s 2010 success, the five trophies collected by Despres and Peterhansel’s unrivalled record of 11 wins, the French manufacturer will take on the next Dakar Rally fortified by the combined knowledge gleaned from no fewer than 21 victories on the event! It is a list that the team intends adding to very quickly…
Photo: Red Bull Content Pool
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