woudn't you notice that big orange monster is behind you???.
For the audience, nationality is important. If you are dutch, german, english.......of course it isn't. If you are french or spanish and lately, portuguese, it does matter. Another thing is the other dakar, in which is just man and machine.
Of course, north americans believe they have a chance because they won motocross of nations and Baja1000.
By the way, Africa Race seems to be picking up and making finally a nice starting grid. Perhaps some people start to get tired.