Francisco Chaleco Lopez 01

Francisco “Chaleco” López will miss the Atacama Rally to be held next week in the north of Chile. López will sit out due to a knee injury. The chilean last raced in the Morocco Rally, finishing seventh. “Dr. Fernando Radice advised me not compete next week, because the right knee is not right, it bothers me a lot. For a while I’ve been training with pain” said López. There’s big speculation in chilean press that this might mean that López will also sit out from the 2015 Dakar Rally, but this hasn’t been confirmed.

The Atacama Rally will have Marc Coma and Joan Barreda Bort as main stars in motorbikes.

October 22, 2014 Off-Road


Following the confirmation of the presence of the Chilean rider Ignacio Casale (winner take-all in Quads in the Rally Dakar 2014) on this Dakar Series event that will take place in Peru, another multiple winner of the most difficult rally raid in the world will grace the new edition of the DesafioInca with his presence. The Spanish driver Nani Roma has officially confirmed that he will line up, together with the MINI team, in search of the big trophy. So, last year’s winner of the Rally Dakar in Cars will be there fight it out over the dunes of Peru, which make the Desafío Inca one of the most important and demanding tests in the world.

In one of the biggest years in his driving career after authoritatively winning the Rally Dakar 2014 in Cars after 10 years (he had already won the Bikes title in 2004), Nani Roma has set himself a new challenge within the Dakar Series in South America. The dunes of Peru, recognised worldwide for the tremendous demands they make on competitors and their machines, have been chosen by Roma to make his appearance in the tournament this season.

As Roma says, “It’s an attractive race because Peru, where I raced two years in the Dakar, is a country and type of terrain I really like. It’s an opportunity to take on the dunes again, those wonderful lands and deserts. Our objective is always to win. The important thing is to have a good race, compete well and try and achieve the objective. We’re here with the idea of lifting the trophy. It’s never easy to win a race like this one, but we’ll pull out all the stops.”

The Spanish driver will arrive in Peru with the MINI team confident of doing the job that will take him to the top of the podium. Roma knows the dunes of Ica because he crossed them when he took part in 2012 and 2013, when Peru was part of the Dakar Rally route and where he has the best memories of the fans’ enthusiasm. If he does win the event, it will be another victory in a Dakar Series tournament for Nani after his triumph in the Desafío Ruta 40 last year in Argentina.

“The Desafío Inca is key to our preparation for the next Dakar Rally because there are many dunes, a lot of sand, and it is hard to find races which only have dunes in them. So, I think that being able to drive on this terrain in difficult stages, in the open desert, is great training for us to test new things on the car. It’s really interesting for us to be there,” the Spanish driver adds

With his presence, the Desafío Inca already offers strong, demanding competition between 11th and 14thSeptember, in which the two 2014 Dakar Rally champions in Quads and Cars confirm the high level that will be seen in Ica. Nani Roma has officially said ‘yes’ to the invitation and will line up for the great Peruvian race. The Desafío Inca continues to attract great international-class competitors.

Source: Prensa Desafío Inca

Photo: DPPI, ASO

July 30, 2014 Off-Road

Chaleco Lopez Desafio Guarani

Francisco “Chaleco” López has won the first edition of the Desafío Guaraní rally in Paraguay. The chilean rider dominated the race, as he won the first two stages, the only two that were able to be run after rains and storms affected the conditions of the road in Ciudad del Este and Encarnación, cities that hosted Stages 3 and 4 of the rally. “Because of the weather and after agreeing with the riders, we decided not to run the bikes,” said Pablo Eli, Director of the Race.

“I think the most important was the safety of the riders. The truth is that we wish to run more but we know it is very dangerous. We came to test the new bike, regain confidence and managed to win the two stages we did so we’re very pleased, “said “Chaleco” López and added:” Running with these conditions is very dangerous because it is a red floor with mud, the bike can not pull at high speeds, it can become a sure hit. Today we spent many scares in the link stage, with several riders commented the same, and therefore I think the best decision was not to race. ”

Pablo Quintanilla from Chile finished second and David Casteu from France ended up third. Patricio Cabrera, the third rider from Chile in the race, finished 24th after retiring in Stage 1 because of clutch problems.


July 24, 2014 Off-Road

Viktor Rempel Desafio Guarani

Viktor Rempel from Paraguay won Desafío Guaraní’s third stage in the Car category after rally authorities decided to cancel the stage for Bikes and Quads. With that, Francisco “Chaleco” López goes into the final, 211 kilometer, stage with a comfortable advantage over countryman Pablo Quintanilla: Over 15 minutes separate the two chilean riders that are fighting for the top spot in Bikes. In Quads 4×2, Sergio LaFuente leads and in Quads 4×4, Leonardo Martínez has the edge over chilean Sebastián Palma, with a difference of over 6 minutes. In Cars, Juan Manuel Silva keeps the lead, but after a mistake in the stage, Marcos Bulacia from Bolivia has closed in within 6 minutes and 42 seconds of the argentinian. All gets decided tomorrow in the Encarnación – Encarnación loop.

July 24, 2014 Off-Road

Francisco Chaleco Lopez Desafio Guarani

Francisco “Chaleco” López Contardo is on a roll. The chilean rider won his second stage in a row in the Desafío Guaraní rally which is being held in Paraguay. López won the stage Asunción – Ciudad del Este, which was the marathon stage without assistance for the bikes, by beating countryman Pablo Quintanilla for 6 minutes. López now leads Quintanilla by 15 minutes and 18 seconds and David Casteu, who was penalized today after going too fast on a controlled section, by 16 minutes and 57 seconds.

Sergio LaFuente from Uruguay leads the Quad 4×2 category, Leonardo Martínez took the point over Sebastián Palma in the Quad 4×4 category and argentinean Juan Manuel “Pato” Silva leads in cars.

Photo: Prensa Desafío Guaraní /

July 23, 2014 Off-Road

Chaleco Lopez Desafio Guarani

Chilean rider Francisco “Chaleco” López Contardo won the first stage of the Desafío Guaraní rally in Paraguay. The chilean defeated french rider David Casteu for 2 minutes and countryman Pablo Quintanilla by 9 minutes and 50 seconds. Is the first win for López this season, after he contested the Dakar Rally in January. In that race, López was forced to abandon after a crash. The first stage, a loop between Asunción and Asunción, had a lot of mud and water in the road and that made very tough for riders to go through the stage. Notable riders had to retire due to mechanical problems caused by the toughness of the stage: Early favorite Javier Pizzolito from Argentina and Patricio Cabrera from Chile among them.

Sergio LaFuente won in Quads 4×2, Sebastián Palma did the same in Quad 4×4 and Juan Manuel “Pato” Silva claimed the stage in Cars.

Photo: Prensa Desafío Guaraní –

July 22, 2014 Off-Road

largada desafio guarani

The second round of the Dakar Series in Latin America is about to start. Ceremonial start of the Desafío Guaraní race was held today in Asunción, Paraguay with President Horacio Cartes and 100 thousand people in attendance. 73 vehicles will be allowed to start the rally, including local star Nelson Sanabria who will fight for the win in the Quad 4×2 category. In the Bike category, the fight will be great between David Casteu from France, Chaleco López and Pablo Quintanilla from Chile and Javier Pizzolito from Argentina. Also for Chile rides Patricio Cabrera. In Cars, Juan Manuel “Pato” Silva is early favorite. Chile has representation from team Foton with drivers Luis Eguiguren and Álvaro Chicharro, and also a Great Wingle driven by Rodrigo Medina. In Quads 4×4, Sebastián Palma from Chile will also fight for the lead.

Desafío Guaraní starts its timed sections tomorrow, with a special stage of 373 kilometers and 208 km. link section in a loop between Asunción and Asunción.

More information in Spanish.

Photo: Prensa Desafío Guaraní /

July 21, 2014 Off-Road


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.


Source: ASO

Photo: Álvaro Milla/Mindep Tarapacá.

July 11, 2014 Dakar Rally, Off-Road

Peugeot 2008 DKR

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!


technical characteristics peugeot 2008 dkr

July 7, 2014 Dakar Rally, Off-Road

Chaleco Lopez

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

July 2, 2014 Dakar Rally, Off-Road

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