DAKAR MOTO 2018 – PREVIEW
Dakar motorcycle 2018: anchored in South America, lack of possible return to Africa…
The Dakar will celebrate its 40th edition from January 6 to 20, 2018 with a course of 9000 km including 4500 of timed specials on the tracks of South America, where the "King of rally-raid" will take place for the tenth time due to lack of power. return to Africa.
Like every year, Dakar director Etienne Lavigne presented the route of the most important rally-raid at a press conference in Paris. And as always, the French leader was asked about the possibility of a return to Africa, country of origin of the "King of rallies"…
- Dakar motorcycle 2017 : Historic victory for Sam Sunderland (KTM)
- Dakar motorcycle 2017 :
"The return to Africa is unfortunately not possible today, because there are extremely complex geopolitical conditions with terrorism, latent or even clearly open conflicts as in Mali, Niger or Chad", replied Etienne Lavigne quoted by AFP.
"A little time will pass"
"These are regions that are subject to extremely strong security tension. Before imagining the return of our event in these regions, it will not be by tomorrow. A little time will pass." , specifies the boss of the Dakar on behalf of the organizer, Amaury Sport Organization (ASO).
Created in 1978 by the late Thierry Sabine, the Dakar – then called "Paris-Dakar" – traveled the African continent for 30 years until security threats in Mauritania provoked. The organizer then turned to South America, which has hosted the rally continuously since 2009..
- MNC of January 4, 2008 :
- MNC of February 11, 2008 :
But this change of country is not to everyone’s taste: some are nostalgic for the "wild" dimension of the African race, criticizing the "marked" and sometimes rectilinear aspect of the South American route. Others are especially surprised that the rally retains its name "Dakar", while it runs thousands of kilometers from the Senegalese capital….
In this, business comes before logic: "Dakar" is a registered trademark, as prestigious as it is remunerative thanks to its operating rights and its myriad of derivative products. Changing it would be commercially risky: imagine Coca-Cola taking on another identity !
In addition, the pilots are mostly in favor of holding the rally in South America: most appreciate the diversity of the landscapes and the tracks, as well as the warm welcome extended to them by the South American spectators, who are very keen on motor sports..
- MNC special file :
It is true that between the portions at very high altitude on the Altiplano (up to 3,500 m!), The splendid – but trapping – dry lakes of Bolivia and the sandy parts of Peru and Argentina, the route does not no lack of variety. Last year, the competitors went from the very hot temperatures of Buenos Aires (between 35 and 40 ° C) to the snowfall of the Bolivian mountains: demanding, especially for bikers !
However, let’s hope that the weather conditions will be less problematic than last year, when torrential rains caused the death of two inhabitants of the village of Volcan and significant damage in remote areas. Faced with mudslides, the organization had several times been forced to change the route at the last minute, resulting in some confusion and a lack of readability..
"There are still a lot of projects in South America", positivises Etienne Lavigne: "there are exceptional geographies, potential to be explored. There are also countries knocking on the door of the Dakar so that, once again, we can organize it at home. I am thinking of Chile, for example "(who had withdrawn in 2016 following earthquakes, Editor’s note).
Departure to Lima (Peru) on January 6, 2018
For its 40th edition, the Dakar will start from Lima (Peru) on Saturday January 6, 2018, with the aim of reaching Cordoba (Argentina) on January 20. The first stage, 272 km long with only 31 km timed, will serve as warm-ups for the .
, Sam Sunderland (above) will be the first to set off on his official No.1 stamped KTM. His teammate Matthias Walkner (2nd in 2017) will be chasing him, as will the third Orange factory pilot, the French Antoine Méo. At Yamaha, hopes are for Adrian van Beveren, excellent 4th in 2017, with Argentinian Franco Caimi and French Xavier de Soultrait as teammates..
At Honda, Paulo Gonçalves will use his experience while Joan Barreda will once again try to convince that his talent and speed can be translated into success. These two versatile drivers will also be responsible for training the young guard: the talented Kevin Benavides and Ricky Brabec.
For its part, Husqvarna calls on the Chilean Pablo Quintanilla and the American Andrew Short.
The first stages will be typed "crossing" in the Peruvian dunes, before entering Bolivia brings its share of extreme climatic and atmospheric conditions. Then the pace of the race will increase in its last third in Argentina: a rise in power carefully designed by Marc Coma, sporting director of the Dakar – and incidentally five times winner of the event with KTM !
"The return to Peru, for a longer stay than in 2012 and 2013, opened up the possibility for us to explore still unknown sectors, in order to taste all the sands of the country and to launch the Dakar on high ground. ", explains the former Spanish champion, who shared the victories for a long time with his French rival Cyril Despres, now on 4-wheels in the Peugeot rally team..
"The Dakar will theoretically reach its peak of difficulty on the Super Fiambala stage: this is where it will be necessary to shine to triumph in Córdoba", warns the Dakar 2018 plotter. Finally, a day of rest is scheduled for Friday 12 January in La Paz (Bolivia).
- Complete list of entries for the Dakar 2018 (cars, motorcycles, trucks and quads)
The Dakar 2018 route in video
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