The 2014 Dakar Rally is about to begin, with the 1st stage commencing next January 5th.
This year’s edition will cover Bolivia’s territory for the first time and will have relevant differences in stage’s organization.
“five special stages have been marked out on completely separate routes, with motorcycles and quad bikes on one hand and cars and trucks on the other. Overall, the ‘separation’ includes around 2,000 kilometres of timed sections, covering more than 40% of the distance
In sporting terms, this has the double advantage of taking motorcycle and quad riders onto more technical and narrower tracks during some stages, while enabling the leaders of the car race to ‘hit the trail’ without using the tracks left by the two-wheelers.
This is also a decisive advantage in terms of safety, as separating the routes eliminates all situations requiring careful overtaking. The benefit is even greater given that the stages in question are essentially in the first part of the rally, when there are many vehicles on the track.”
The full stage calendar is the following:
|06-01-2014||San Luis||San Rafael|
|07-01-2014||San Rafael||San Juan|
|17-01-2014||El Salvador||La Serena|
Stéphane Peterhansel (winner of last year’s edition), Nasser-al-Attiyah, and Nani Roma (4th in 2013) – the three leaders of the X-Raid team – are all strong candidates to win the 2014 Dakar. They will be again on the wheels of Mini.
Peterhansel has an amazing record of 11 Dakar Rally wins in 21 participations, the first 6 on Bikes and the other 5 on cars. So this year he can match his bike and cars wins!
Other strong contestants are Giniel de Villiers (Toyota, last year’s runner-up) and Carlos Sainz (Buggy), as well as Robby Gordon (Hummer).
Portuguese driver Carlos Sousa – 6th last year – will bear number 306 driving for Team Great Wall and should be again within Top 10 as he already did 9 times. His best place was 4th in the 2003 edition held in the African desert.
On Bikes – Frenchman and winner of last year edition – Cyril Despres (Yahama) – , Spaniard Marc Coma (KTM), Portuguese Rúben Faria (KTM, last year’s runner-up) and Chilean Francisco ‘Chaleco’ Lopez (KTM, 3rd in 2013) are the favourites. Despres has won the Rally 5 times and finished other 5 times in a podium place (4 of them as runner-up).