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Stars set for toughest ever course

Dakar Rally from January 6-20, 2018.

Dakar team line-ups revealed as former champions face brutal title challenges.

The Red Bull Desert Wings squad will face a tough challenge to their Dakar Rally dominance when the 40th edition of the iconic rally raid race returns to South America from January 6-20, 2018.

Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel knows all too well what you need to conjure up in order to succeed over the rocky and sandy terrain having won the event 13 times on both two and four wheels.

In order to defend his car title, the 52-year-old will not only have to fend off Team Peugeot Total team-mates Carlos Sainz, Cyril Despres and Sébastien Loeb but the likes of MINI rookie Bryce Menzies and former champions Nasser Al-Attiyah and Giniel De Villiers.

Peterhansel said, “The tension builds in September that gives way to pure excitement in December when you just want to get out there and do some kilometres, then, when you finally arrive, you’re flat-out from the off.”

Thirty-year-old American Menzies added, “It was very unfortunate that I had to give up my chance at the 2017 Dakar. It has been my lifetime ambition to compete so it was tough to have to wait one more year. But now I’m ready to race the most difficult rally-raid in the world.”

 


Stephane Peterhansel from Team Peugeot Total performs during a test run with the new Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi in Erfoud

 

Slovnaft Team’s Stefan Svitko will be one rider hoping to break Red Bull KTM Factory Team’s stranglehold in the bike series after 17 consecutive Dakar wins.

Sam Sunderland is the reigning champion, however, Australian team-mate Toby Price is also eager to get his crown back after he crashed out in the latest edition.

The 30-year-old declared, “I was off riding for close to eight or nine months. It’s clearly not the preparation any rider would want leading up to the biggest race of the year, but then you don’t forget how to ride a motorcycle.”

Chilean Ignacio Casale finished second in the quads category in 2017 but believes he can go one better this time around after clinching his first win back in 2014.

He revealed, “I’ve had good results this year including a win at the Atacama Rally. As well as racing I’ve been very focused on training and testing.”

Finally, in the trucks, Dmitry Sotnikov will be hoping to get the better of Team Kamaz Master team-mate Eduard Nikolaev – who won by nearly 19 minutes in 2017.

The Russian claimed, “From the very beginning of the race there’s heat and dunes and then the high altitude of Bolivia. This course is going to be tough for crews and their trucks.”

 

 


 

 

Courtesy of Red Bull Media House

 

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Sainz forced out of Dakar

Former champion rolled into ravine on brink of taking Dakar Rally 2017 lead.

Former champion rolled into ravine on brink of taking Dakar Rally 2017 lead.

 

 

Carlos Sainz has been forced to withdraw from the Dakar Rally after pushing too hard in the battle for the lead following early stage navigation problems.

The 2010 winner was just three miles from the end of the Jujuy-Tupiza stage in Bolivia when he suffered the ravine roll.Even though two-time World Rally champion Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz managed to get their Peugeot 3008DKR to the service bivouac, the damage proved too much to repair in time for Friday’s stage.

Sainz, who incurred pain in his lower back during the accident, explained: “It is obviously devastating to have to retire. We had been running at a good pace since the start of the rally in the PEUGEOT 3008DKR which is a real improvement over last year’s car.
“I am so disappointed that I won’t be able to reap the benefit of its potential.
“We had lost so much time at the start of the stage – we had to recover, and recover, and recover.

“And when you take so many risks, these things can happen.”

 

Sainz joins fellow high-profile casualties such as double winner Nasser Al-Attiyah and reigning motorcycle champion Toby Price of Australia.

Carlos Sainz (ESP) of Team Peugeot Total races during stage 03 of Rally Dakar 2017 from Tucuman to Jujuy, Argentina on January 4, 2017

Carlos Sainz (ESP) of Team Peugeot Total races during stage 03 of Rally Dakar 2017 from Tucuman to Jujuy, Argentina on January 4, 2017

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The 12 days of the Dakar

Arguably motorsport’s most arduous course gets under way on January 2 in Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, stage one’s 454 kilometres a mere dent in the marathon course that lies await.

From Red Bull:

 

A closer look at the numbers behind arguably motorsport’s toughest event.

 


 

 

Arguably motorsport’s most arduous course gets under way on January 2 in Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay, stage one’s 454 kilometres a mere dent in the marathon course that lies await.

Ahead of the illustrious race, we dissect the 12 stages over 13 days and the overall race in numbers…

1 – Bib No.1 will be adorned by Australian Toby Price, who last year became the first Australian to win the Dakar as he proved victorious in the motorbike category. He won five stages in all, was 40 minutes clear of his closest rival and is the only person to win the event on only his second attempt.

2 – Nasser al-Attiyah won two stages last year in the Dakar car category, one more than the number of medals he has won at the Summer Olympics, for which he has a shooting bronze from London. But sticking to twos, it is the number of times he has won Dakar and also his position in last year’s race come the finish.

3 – This year’s event will pass through a total of three countries in South America: Paraguay, where it starts, Bolivia and Argentina, where it reaches its climax.

4 – Jutta Kleinschmidt was the first and still only female winner of the Dakar proving victorious on four wheels in the car category in 2001. But her first forays along the route were on two wheels rather than four, making her debut in 1988 on a BMW motorcycle before switching to a car in 1994.

5 – Stage five of this year’s race is in the heart of the Bolivia Altiplano where the Andes are at their wildest. Outside Tibet, it is the most extensive high plateau on earth in which two hefty sand dune sections will provide an ultimate test for those still in the race.

6 – Last year, there were 18 Red Bull entries, or Desert Wings, who took to the start line. Come the race finish some two weeks later, six of that number were among the podium finishers.

7 – The entourage that now supports the Dakar is absolutely monstrous. The race is followed and filmed from above by a total of seven helicopters but that is not the only race back-up. In addition, there is a field hospital, an air ambulance and 60 nursing staff on hand in case of any emergencies.

8 – The 2016 running of the Dakar was the eighth successive year in which the rally was run in South America, the race moving there in 2009 because of safety fears in parts of Africa. Traditionally, its route – from its inception in 1979 – had been from Paris to Dakar although the French capital last hosted the depart in 2001.

9 – There are no shortage of motorsport royalty in the starting line-up for this year. Perhaps most notable among them is Sebastien Loeb, who is making his second entry in the race. Loeb is best known for his years in the World Rally Championship in which he won nine titles. He also finished ninth overall last year on his Dakar debut.

10 – The tightest ever margin of victory on the Dakar was just two minutes and 12 seconds back in 2010. That year, Carlos Sainz edged out al-Attiyah in a nail-biting finale to a gripping race-long contest.

11 – Red Bull athletes enjoyed a stunning Dakar in 2016. They won 11 out of 13 stages and 91% of the time they were on the podium.

12 – Stephane Peterhansel won the car event last year and boasts an astonishing 12 overall Dakar victories. He was once the dominant force in the motorbike class in which he won six times before switching to cars and emulating that number of wins.

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