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Discussion in 'Racing' started by troy safari carpente, Dec 27, 2015.
Addicted, no, no.
Can somebody do something with this please
This is an interview with Toby Price, he says he would prefer to have a WRC car so far, as it has all been on track at 39" he says we are keen for the second week, this is where it will kick off "and become the Dakar rally"...
So I guess it not just us sitting on the sidelines that feel this year has been much more of a compromise (so far) due to Peru's withdrawal than previous.
I am sure Carlos and Stephane want to teach Seb a lesson off piste also.
Are on these yellow papers, the penalties, according to the reglement.
Keep it flat, so we can read it,
Lot of attached changes.
Puzzle where is that you find them!
Speaking of environmental concerns ^ this was in the BA Herald. Troubling that at this late stage some still want to
try to side track this stage.
Friday, January 8, 2016
The Dakar hazard
Italy’s Jacopo Cerrutti drives his Husqvarna past a spectator, at the end of the fourth stage of the 2016 Dakar Rally, in Jujuy province.
By Fermín Koop
As odd as it may seem, hundreds of vehicles racing in the Dakar Rally are set to go through a National Park in Salta next Monday as part of the 2016 edition of the race held in Argentina and Bolivia, leading to accusations being traded between the government and environmental organizations and rekindling the debate about the environmental risks of the competition.
Up to 345 vehicles competing in this year’s edition will drive through 11 kilometres of the National Park Los Cardones in Salta, located in the central-western area of the province and home to several ecosystems, which along with the precious archaeological heritage could be endangered due to the race, experts warn.
As the race was organized more than a year ago during the Cristina Fernández de Kirchner administration, the newly created Environment Ministry claimed it wasn’t possible to change the route now. But the ministry said it will carry out steep controls on Monday. Never again will the Dakar go through a National Park in Argentina, Environment Minister Sergio Bergman said.
“We’ve been here for less than a month and inherited an already-organized race. We won’t do what the previous administration did and not control the race. They will have to go through the park closely watched by us,” Emiliano Ezcurra, vice-president of the National Parks Administration (APN), told the Herald. “Asking them not to drive through the park at this point would have led to a huge conflict with a massive event.”
The Defence of the Environment Foundation (Funam) filed a complaint this week for the Dakar not to run through Los Cardones, claiming the competition was approved with “irregular” environmental assessment reports. The National Park was already included as part of the route in the two previous rallies and in the 2001 edition a truck caught on fire inside the park, Funam recalled, asking Bergman to intervene.
“It’s a new government and new officials so they have all the tools to ban the Dakar from going through the park. I don’t understand why APN doesn’t take action,” Raúl Montenegro, the head of Funam told the Herald. “The Dakar is a giant destructive machine that needs the complicity of the government to be carried out. It leads to serious environmental damages, its environmental assessment reports are a joke.”
This is the eighth time the Dakar Rally has been run in Latin America, but this time without Chile and Peru, which chose not to participate this year due to the impact of the climate phenomenon El Niño. The competition has 13 phases through Argentina and Bolivia, ending in Rosario on Saturday 16. The race used to be held in Africa but was moved to Latin America in 2009 due to security concerns.
The Herald contacted the local PR agency of the organizers of the race, the French firm Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), but after many attempts they have not replied. On its website, ASO says the event was carefully organized with the provincial governments. Each province had to authorize the race as they have the rights over their natural resources and not the federal government.
“Provincial governments have an important role here but they chose not to ban the race from crossing protected areas. It’s hard to stop the race now with so much money already invested,” Juan Carlos Villalonga, Let’s Change lawmaker and former head of the Buenos Aires City Environmental Agency, told the Herald. “The Dakar is a competition that shouldn’t be carried out, races must take place in proper venues.”
Similar concerns were shared by the Archaeologists Association of Argentina (AAPRA) and by the Argentine Anthropology Society (SAA), which issued several press releases since the race started warning of the risks faced by the archaeological heritage.
“About 500 vehicles, including cars, trucks and motorcycles, race at high speeds through open land, causing serious damage to the environment. All the elements on the surface through which the vehicles go through are affected or completely destroyed,” they said. “The extreme fragility of the archaeological heritage makes it necessary to implement actions to protect it of the real and potential damage.”
ARTwork from Laia
Myway is an ALIEN! Don't add to his snowball with a media interview Wait for the end of the rally!
So it seems. That makes me think that the full factory efforts must do the same as well. While they don't have real time turn by turn GPS mapping, the riders could at least visualise some of the more complex navigation sections etc.
Sorry no time to translate but just some moralizing about Gonk having stopped by Walkner and being a victim of Despres in the mud incident.
I thought I disclaimed it well enough but maybe not. Of course there wasn't time, although I don't know when the tire info was FIRST made available. All I'm saying is that no one should construe those remarks as indicating that this was only discovered at rally time. It's not a spec tire series; buy them from whoever you want and if you want to ask for something special then do so [in French, of course. :) ] I don't see a big deal here. Peugeot wanted specific characteristics in their tire, but that doesn't mean it would have been a better tire for Robby or anyone else running 37" tires. Peugeot is having flats, too, so the new tires aren't perfect, and if it takes Peugeot to push Michelin to improve their tires, that's a good thing.
If Mini or Toyota wanted something other than what had been available for ten years, they should have looked for it. My interpretation of the remarks is that that team manager was saying, "OK, it's clearly time for us to spec better tires like Peugeot did."
If there are specifically required timelines for disclosure of tire development that were violated, then I'm all ears.
Dakar.com photos from stage 7 have been posted to the Dakar Photo F5irehose, giving everyone something to look at on our rest day. here's a few of my favorites...
#303 - CARLOS SAINZ (ESP) / LUCAS CRUZ (ESP) [PEUGEOT]
Damn, that would be awesome! I could hit four or five different spots.
More info about the Sherco team. Despite me following pretty closely the Dakar, I had never heard how Sherco came into the race. And until last year without much support from the factory.
Face aux usines KTM, Honda, Husqvarna ou encore Yamaha, Sherco tente de se faire une place au soleil. L'histoire du constructeur français en Rallye relève d'une aventure originale entre deux connaissances devenues amis depuis. Un récit inédit pour un engagement humain avant tout.
Au cœur du bivouac Dakar, à côté des camions KTM, Husqvarna, Honda, on retrouve deux fourgonnettes Sherco accolées à un auvent bleu abritant trois motos. L'ambiance est décontractée et les mécanos ont le sourire. « On n'a pas beaucoup de moyens, mais nous progressons étape par étape. » Nicolas Chaix est le manager du team Factory Sherco sur le Dakar. Un poste qu'il occupe à mi-temps et en tant que bénévole dirons-nous puisque son activité principale, il la passe la plupart du temps en tant que commandant de bord Air France sur A377. « Cela fait 25 ans que je conduis des avions. J'ai grandi dans le monde de la moto, car mon oncle avait une concession Yamaha à Grasse. Mon métier me donnait pas mal de liberté et en 2002, j'ai pris des parts dans un magasin Honda à Aix-en-Provence. Je roulais à un niveau très amateur et en 2005, j'ai été invité par Motul à participer au Rallye du Maroc. Avec l'équipe du magasin, on s'est motivé pour préparer une moto de Rallye. On aurait aimé que ce soit une Honda puisque les 450 CR-F venaient d'arriver, mais pour des raisons obscures cela n'a pas pu se faire. »
Naissance d’une amitié
C’est alors que Nicolas Chaix aperçoit une photo d’une Sherco dans un Moto Verte. C’est le déclic ! Il appelle Didier Valade et lui propose le projet de faire un Rallye avec leur moto. « Ils ont accepté. J’ai acheté une moto que l’on a préparée avec mon équipe. Durant ce Maroc, j’ai rencontré Laurent Legat qui est devenu mon meilleur ami. On s’est mis en tête de trouver un pilote qui roulerait avec une Sherco. Celle-ci bénéficierait d’une préparation plus professionnelle.» Les deux amis rencontrent Franck Carbone qui accepte gratuitement de leur créer un kit complet. Durant l’année 2007, Nicolas Chaix ouvre une association afin de mettre en place le team et en 2008, la première Sherco avec le kit complet en carbone voit le jour. Après une discussion animée en avril 2008 avec Marc Tessier, le patron de Sherco, Nicolas et Laurent décident de partir sur le projet Dakar. Sans perdre de temps, l’association se lance sur l'édition 2009 avec trois motos, une 510, une 450 et une 250. Les deux dernières ont vu l’arrivée du Dakar ce qui a enclenché une belle histoire avec des pilotes amateurs jusqu’en 2011.
L’expérience Alain Duclos
« Les choses ne se sont pas toujours passées idéalement avec les pilotes amateurs qui achetaient leur participation dans un team comme le nôtre mais on apprenait beaucoup. On n'était absolument pas professionnel mais nous avions une moto d'usine en quelque sorte. » En 2012, Frans Verhoeven, ancien porteur d'eau chez KTM, devient le premier pilote professionnel à signer avec l'association. Sherco commence d'ailleurs à aider les deux amis en leur préparant les moteurs. « Le parc entier avait vu que notre moto pouvait aller vite. » En 2013, Alain Duclot relève le défi d'être le pilote d'essai et de développement de la 450. Avec son expérience de porteur d'eau de Despres et pilote Aprilia, l'association est toute trouvée. L'usine s'implique davantage en suivant les directives d'Alain et Laurent Legat s'occupe de créer entièrement le châssis périmétrique de la nouvelle 450. « Il faut savoir que c'est lui qui a fait cette moto de A à Z, lui rend hommage Nicolas. Mis à part le moteur fourni par Sherco. C'est un travail de fou et il était à l'époque bénévole car il travaillait dans le bâtiment. On était acteur d'une association qui, comme son nom l'indique, accueillait des bénévoles. »
L’aboutissement en 2014
En 2014, Joan Pedrero rejoint l'équipe française aux côtés de Duclos. « Cette année-là nous sommes encore une équipe 100% amateur sous la coupe d'association de deux copains. C'est la consécration de cette histoire abracadabrante puisqu'après six journées, nous remportons deux étapes. Tout le monde nous regarde comme des extraterrestres. Alain était troisième du provisoire et à la neuvième journée il casse le moteur. Au sortir de ça, je me dis qu'on est arrivé au bout. L'histoire ne pouvait continuer que si l'usine s'implique totalement. » Le constructeur français prend dont logiquement le relais en 2015 de cette belle histoire de deux copains. Joan Pedrero et Alain Duclos sont assistés de Florent Vayssade, porteur d'eau officiel. Laurent Legad a intégré l'usine Sherco avec un emploi un peu précaire, « il faut lui rendre hommage car il a accepté ce que très peu auraient accepté. Il le fait par passion et est l'acteur majeur de l'aventure Sherco en Rallye. »
L'association s'est donc arrêtée, la belle story se poursuit pour Nicolas Chaix qui officie en tant que manager du team. « J'ai pris des congés sans solde pour me rendre au Dakar. L'association s'est arrêtée en 2014. Elle était un soutien logistique et financier puisqu'il a fallu trouver beaucoup d'argent, se souvient Nicolas. Lorsque Honda avouait 14 millions d'euros d'investissement, KTM 9 millions et Yamaha 2 millions, nous c'était 200 000 euros en 2014 quand nous avions gagné deux étapes. » Aujourd'hui, le budget est beaucoup plus important avec un partenaire TVS Racing, une société Indienne très impliquée dans le projet Rallye. La structure française a besoin du Dakar pour son image mais, « il faut qu'elle grandisse davantage, que le moteur évolue pour être aussi puissant que les autres et nous devons préparer l'avenir en formant un jeune pilote. » On se prend à rêver d'une marque française sur la plus haute marche du podium à Buenos Aires. Qui sait ? "
In English according to google:
Faced with factories KTM, Honda, Husqvarna or Yamaha, Sherco is trying to get a place in the sun. The history of the French manufacturer in Rally falls from an original adventure between two acquaintances become friends since. An unpublished account for a primarily human commitment.
At the heart of the Dakar bivouac, alongside KTM trucks, Husqvarna, Honda, Sherco there are two vans contiguous to a blue awning sheltering three motorcycles. The atmosphere is casual and the mechanics are smiling. "There is not much means, but we are progressing step by step. "Nicolas Chaix is the Sherco Factory team manager on the Dakar. A position he has held part-time as a volunteer and we say as his main activity, he spends most of the time as a captain Air France A377. "For 25 years I drive airplanes. I grew up in the world of motorcycling because my uncle had a Yamaha dealership in Grasse. My job gave me a lot of freedom and in 2002, I took shares in a Honda store in Aix-en-Provence. I was driving at a very amateur and in 2005 I was invited by Motul to participate in the Rally of Morocco. With the team of the store, one is motivated to prepare a motorcycle rally. We would have liked it to be a Honda CR-450 since F had just arrived, but for unknown reasons this has not been done. "
Birth of a friendship
That's when Nicolas Chaix sees a picture of a Sherco in Moto Verte. This is the catch! He calls Didier Valade and proposes the project of a rally with their motorcycle. "They agreed. I bought a motorcycle that was prepared with my team. During this Morocco, I met Laurent Legat who became my best friend. We started at the top to find a driver who would roll with Sherco. The latter benefit from a more professional preparation. "The two friends meet Franck Carbone accepting free to create their full kit. During 2007, Nicolas Chaix opens association to set up the team and in 2008, the first complete kit Sherco with carbon is born. After a lively discussion in April 2008 with Marc Tessier, head of Sherco, Nicolas and Laurent decide to go on the Dakar project. Wasting no time, the association launches on the 2009 edition with three motorcycles, a 510, a 450 and a 250. The last two have seen the arrival of Dakar which has triggered a great story with amateur pilots up 'in 2011.
Experience Alain Duclos
"Things are not always happened ideally with amateur drivers who bought their participation in a team like ours, but we learned a lot. It was absolutely not professional but we had a factory bike somehow. "In 2012 Frans Verhoeven, former water carrier KTM becomes the first professional driver to sign with the association. Sherco is beginning to help two friends preparing their engines. "The whole park saw that our bike could go fast. "In 2013, Alain Duclot the challenge of being the test driver and development 450. With a water carrier experience of Despres and Aprilia, the association is found throughout. The plant became more involved following the guidelines and Alain Laurent Legat takes care of creating the full perimeter frame of the new 450. "It should be known that it was he who made this bike from A to Z, pays tribute to Nicolas. Aside from the engine provided by Sherco. It's a workaholic and he was volunteer time because he was working in the building. It was an actor of an association which, as its name suggests, welcomed volunteers. "
The outcome in 2014
In 2014, Joan Pedrero joined the French team alongside Duclos. "This year we are still a 100% amateur team in the Association section of two friends. It is the consecration of this fantastic story since after six days, we won two stages. Everyone looks at us like aliens. Alain was provisional third and the ninth day he breaks the engine. Coming out of that, I think we came to the end. The story could not continue if the plant is fully involved. "The French manufacturer which logically takes over in 2015 this beautiful story of two buddies. Joan Pedrero and Alain Duclos are assisted by Florent Vayssade, official water carrier. Laurent LEGAD joined the Sherco plant with a somewhat precarious employment, "we need to honor him because he accepted that very few have accepted. He does it out of passion and is the major player in the Sherco Rally adventure. "
Preparing for the future
The association has therefore stopped, the beautiful story continues for Nicolas Chaix who officiates as a team manager. "I took unpaid leave to go to the Dakar. The association stopped in 2014. It was a logistical and financial support as it had to find a lot of money, recalls Nicolas. When Honda confessed 14 million euros of investment, KTM and Yamaha 9,000,000 2,000,000 we was 200,000 euros in 2014 when we won two stages. "Today, the budget is much more important with TVS Racing partner, an Indian company heavily involved in the Rally project. The French structure needs the Dakar for her image but "it must grow more, the engine is evolving to be as powerful as the other and we must prepare for the future by training a young driver. "One begins to dream of a French mark on the top step of the podium in Buenos Aires. Who knows ?"
Pretty cool effort from a small manufacturer!
No, the rules and the culture matter a lot. However, for myself, I trust the Sporting Director (now Marc Coma) to know the culture better than a bunch of internet haven't-been-there posters like ourselves to know what that culture really is. I mean, look at "the rules".... it's super clear from the questions posted here that only a handful of people have bothered to read them. So then the opinion comes down to "the culture" and the number of the readers and posters here who have been involved on both sides (racer and organizer) of the Dakar is zero.
For most of us, pontificating on what "real rally" or "real rally raid" or "real Dakar" is... it's as valid as our opinions on the who should be the coach of some random NFL team.
I'd stick with having "real rally", and the culture of rally, being defined by those who have been on both sides, the racer/organizers. I'm very confident Coma will make excellent decisions in this regard. :)
I believe from what Sr Coma said that the toughness of the 2nd half will balance with the 1st half of the rally nicely.
bike 052 - Iván Cervantes comes from Tarragona to hone his skills
Iván Cervantes, 18th in the last Rallye du Maroc and Spain's first enduro world champion, reached Salta tired but sharp, eager to learn everything he can in his first Dakar.
Salta is still being baked in the sun when Iván Cervantes gets there. He has just finished the 793 km stage leading to the rest day. Iván, who hails from Tarragona, a city to the south of Barcelona, started off as an enduro rider and, despite winning the enduro world championships four times, is learning to walk before he runs at the Dakar. The long stage, yet another gruelling one, was marred by a GPS connection glitch. "Basically, I was told it would be repaired before I started the second special, but I didn't see anyone, so I kept on going like this. It's tricky sometimes because it's what warns us of the radars. I got a penalty, by the way…" The one-minute penalty handed down by the race officials changes nothing for him. "I'm here to fulfil a dream, discover everything and learn about everything." Miguel Puertas, the soul of the Himoinsa team, is a valuable ally in his first steps in a new discipline: "Miguel's got ten Dakars under his belt. When he does something, he gives it his all. He takes care of everything and leaves nothing to chance. It's normal, for a fighter pilot. I need tips like these to carve a place for me in the Dakar. We prepare stages carefully and analyse them thoroughly after the finish." He has had some misadventures, such as a fall in stage 4: "I went too fast into a turn and I veered off the course. I was unconscious for a bit. It's behind me now." It is quite simple, in fact: "I knew it was tough. I'm tough too. But everything's tougher than you expect…" Great moments await on his journey of discovery to Rosario!
The chips are down
Florent Vayssade made it to the rest day without problems and is ready to tackle the perils of the second week of the rally.
Florent Vayssade went from winter to summer in just over 200 km. The Sherco rider was happy with the 20-degree difference between the finish of the previous special at almost 3,600 masl and the bivouac in the plains of Salta. "We were frozen", blurts the man from Aveyron as he takes his jacket off. "It feels good to be warm." Salar de Uyuni spelled the end of his Dakar last year. This time round, Florent left Bolivia without problems. "It was a nice special, I had a great time. It's a pity we couldn't finish the second part. I was in the neutralised sector near the border when I learned the race had been suspended due to a thunderstorm. It was very cold on the road." The Sherco TVS Racing rider is obviously delighted to make it through the first half of the rally without problems. "As a water carrier, I'm happy to reach Salta in good shape and with my bike in good condition. My only regret is losing some time when I ran out of petrol in Uyuni. Without it, I'd be in the top 30 overall." After a well-deserved rest day, Florent Vayssade is ready to tackle the perils of the second week of the rally. "There'll be lots of them", he warns. "We haven't had to navigate much so far. There were policemen at the crossroads to show us the way. Now that the sand is coming, the chips are coming down." And the gaps are going up.
truck 526 - Frustration pushes Hoondert to a great hight
If Adwin Hoondert could have eaten the steering wheel of his truck, he would have. A malfunctioning gear box drove him mad. But instead of wrecking something the Dutchman focussed his frustration on the stage. It proved to be the right decision as Hoondert recorded his best ever result in the Dakar, finishing 16th. Shifting from second to third was difficult, but shifting from third to fourth was almost impossible. So, with the altitude as a possible extra complication in mind, Hoondert knew he might be in trouble. “We stood at the start of the special and I saw the mountain tops way in the distance and said to my crew: ‘Whatever it takes, that's where we are going. All or nothing, if it breaks it breaks, but we're going for it.' So we did. I overtook fourteen trucks. I aimed all my frustration on every truck I saw ahead of me. MAZ, Kamaz, whatever prey I saw, I hunted it down.”
car 377 - Some kind of career change
Peter Erren used to drive rally cars himself in several rally raids already but in the Dakar the Dutchman is on the passenger seat of Peter Merceij's Toyota Hilux.
Peter Erren used to drive rally cars himself in several rally raids already but in the Dakar the Dutchman is on the passenger seat of Peter Merceij's Toyota Hilux. It wasn't a planned career change for Peter Erren, but he took up the challenge with both hands. “I really enjoy driving myself but when Peter asked me if I would like to join him as a co-pilot I said yes immediately. Such a chance doesn't come by every day.”
Erren considers it an advantage he uses to drive himself. “Sometimes I'm dying to take over the steering wheel, but in general I actually like my new role. I know exactly how a driver feels and thinks and I can use that experience in coaching Peter through the stage. So far we are going well. I only made a few little mistakes in navigation, but it was funny to see how the cars behind us made the same mistakes, so it wasn't just me.”
DAKAR DEBUT, LOEB STYLE
289 vehicles made it to the 2016 Dakar's rest day in Salta (112 motorcycles, 36 quads, 90 cars and 51 trucks, amounting to 83% of all starters). Peugeot smashed everyone's expectations, especially with freshman Sébastien Loeb, who holds the lead halfway through the race ahead of teammates Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz. Experienced Paulo Gonçalves is gallantly containing the onslaught of Toby Price and fellow youngsters Kevin Benavides, Antoine Méo…
Cars: Peugeot roars again
"It's simple, there are three competitions: the Peugeot race, our race, in which we are alone, and the race of everyone else, far behind!" Matthieu Baumel's analysis may be concise, but it hits the nail on the head considering the results of the first six stages since the start in Buenos Aires. In just one week, the confidence and assurance of Nasser Al-Attiyah and his co-driver, which were sky-high after an extraordinary 2015 season, were torn apart by the claws of the three lions racing in front. "I'm attacking more than ever, but I'm losing three or four minutes every day", says the defending champion bitterly. "All I've got left now is the fight for the podium."
Halfway through the race, all podium spots are in the hands of Peugeot, whose achievements stand in stark contrast to last year's lacklustre performance. The spoils are piling up, with only the prologue escaping the 2008 DKR cars, which have taken two thirds of all top 3 spots so far (14/21). As if this were not enough, an out-of-this-world rookie who came to discover the race is capitalising on the car's progress! He has passed with flying colours: it is three stage wins already for Sébastien Loeb, who leads the rally with a margin of 2′22″ over "Monsieur Dakar", Stéphane Peterhansel, and 4′50″ over "El Matador", Carlos Sainz. A fratricide duel awaits the Peugeot trio, with Peter adamant that "in general, the second week favours the veterans", while the Spaniard says he is ready to "fight back inch by inch".
In the fight for the minor honours Al-Attiyah and others depend on something bad happening to the Peugeot drivers. They have only had minor problems so far, but their consequences could conceivably become serious. Cyril Despres lies 1 h 45′ back after a problem with his turbo that capped his speed at 50 km/h in stage 5, while Loeb's accelerator jammed in the down position, the kind of anomaly that could only happen to him! The terrain change and the beginning of the Dakar's endurance phase provide some hope for the Minis of Al-Attiyah and the other first-class rookie, Mikko Hirvonen (5th). Meanwhile, the patience of one of the four Toyota Hilux drivers in the top 10 (Giniel de Villiers, Leeroy Poulter, Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Vladimir Vasilyev, sitting sixth through ninth) could well be rewarded.
Motorcycles: a blast of fresh air
The start list for the motorcycle category drew the curtains on the Coma-Despres era and set the scene for a new generation to step to the fore. Their heir, Paulo Gonçalves, put in a solid first week despite some trouble with the altitude in Bolivia, whereas Ruben Faria and Joan Barreda packed their suitcases before making it to Salta. Aussie Toby Price, ready to pounce on the Portuguese rider, showed the talent that made him the revelation of 2015 (3rd), claiming three stages and limiting his losses in the general classification to just 3′12″. A blast of fresh air swept the provisional top 10: Kevin Benavides, from Salta, celebrated his 27th birthday yesterday by entering his home town in fifth place overall, whereas five-time enduro world champion Antoine Méo claimed his maiden Dakar win and moved up to sixth place. This year is also having its fair share of impressive rookies, with American Ricky Brabec and Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren featuring in the top 15 (12th and 14th, respectively).
Quads: Patronelli Bros. rise to the challenge
The quad category continues to offer a dramatic showdown in this edition of the Dakar, with 45 vehicles and four previous winners on the start line —more than ever. Chile's first ever champion, Ignacio Casale, seemed poised to dominate the star-studded field after opening a sizeable gap in the general classification, which he led for the first four days. However, just like Poland's Rafał Sonik the day before, he was forced to go home in stage 6. The Patronelli Bros. then emerged from the shadows to prove their mettle in endurance races like the Dakar, with Marcos winning stage 6 and Alejandro leading the race since then. The two Argentinian stars now wear the mantle of favourites in their country.
Trucks: Kamaz on the back foot
The favourites are playing a game of cat and mouse in the truck category, where 51 of the 55 original starters are still in the race. Pieter Versluis, Martin Kolomý, Gerard de Rooy, Eduard Nikolaev and Hans Stacey took turns in the lead, which is held by Nikolaev as the rally gears up for its second week. Each new leader moved into the top spot with a stage win. The elite group, which also includes defending champion Ayrat Mardeev (3rd), astonishing Argentinian Federico Villagra (6th) and Dutchman Ton van Genugten (7th), are all within 29′ of each other. The Kamaz trucks' seemingly sub-par performance could be explained by the stages so far featuring more dirt than sand. On another note, Stacey, the winner of the last Dakar in Africa, is back in the mix.
Cool. More flame on the Las Vegas to Mexico City rumor
The only downside of which would be Gordon reconsidering his threat to quit Dakar.