Originally Posted by Deadly99
This year I see someone other than Peterhansel on the top
I also predict KTM do NOT take 1 & 2 on the podium
I also predict one of the "badass" buggies finish with a respectable placing
And I... by comparison see Peterhansel (MINI) as odds on favourite, with De Villiers as the "biggest challenger" tip. (The Toyotas on paper perhaps the most potent vehicle all round perspective). The Mini team has the numbers, experience and troops on the ground with a military like routine, to take the win again... The Hilux's though fewer in number - sure look to be a good package, maybe Giniel with support from the other SA crew can take it to the four Monster MINI's?
My tip for the other podium spot would be either one of the other MINI's or possibly even Carlos Sousa in the Great Wall (if they have all the kinks worked out of the X-Raid package they bought from last year). He is a long time competitor with many years near the front (Mitsubishi and later VW) time... like Chaleco, 2013 could be "now or never"... though I have no idea on how "big" the Chinese team budget/effort is for this year?
Neither of the "badass" buggies will finish (troublefree) and given Sainz/Nassers track reckord, I can't see either of the "stars" limping home in 45th position during week two... in order to just get a "finish"... so if anyone is capable of that it will be the more machinery sypathetic Thierry Magnaldi... however I am not sure if it IS confirmed he will be running the third car? Perhaps his role has evolved into merely doing the development work?
My AUTO podium tip is MINI on top/fighting with a Hilux (Peterhansel vs.DeVilliers) and another MINI in third (Roma or Holowycz).
I think KTM will once more stand highest on the podium... perhaps not 1 & 2... but they are my favour to win it. Most probable tip (for my money) is Despres to break the pattern and get two in a row... Coma's injury in Marocco was a big blow to the preparation... IF he is 100% fit by january, he has the routine to push for the win... but this is the only question.
Chaleco is on KTM this year... and even though not on the factory squad... with the material at his disposal and the memory of "what could have been" from the Aprilia years... 2013 could be "now or never" for the Chileán champion to be the first latin American name on top of the Podium.
I think this year we will see a motorcycle with the letter "H" take one of the other two steps of the winner dias...
The Speedbrain team have been gaining momentum ever since the BMW program evolved into the Husqvarna program... and now they have four or five solid top 20 calibre riders on the roster, and Barreda has recently shown improved experience and speed of the front runners. The Speedbrain team were the stand out performers at the recent Rallye Maroc.
The other big "H" team will certainly make presence felt this DAKAR. I think that Helder will put HRC up on the leader board amongst the top three positions early in week one, and make a solid bid for the crown. But something tells me (intuition) that something
will go wrong (there are a million things that can) and HONDA will not
be on the podium... but two bikes from them in top ten is not improbable.
My MOTO podium tip is two KTM's (one on top) with a Husky on one of the lower two steps.