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Dakar Rally 2018 – cars, drivers, latest news and day 13 results

Lee Stern
19 Jan 2018

Daily updates and highlights from the 2018 Dakar Rally.


Page 1 of 2Dakar Rally 2018 – cars, drivers, latest news and day 13 results

The 40th Dakar Rally kicked off on 6 January. Formerly known as the Paris Dakar after its historic start and finish locations, the endurance race is divided into 14 stages and will take entrants 5500 miles through South America, starting in Lima, Peru before crossing into Bolivia and finishing up in Cordoba, Argentina.

Consistent with the rally raid competition format, the Dakar is a multi-day race event made up of long off-road stages. The vehicles participating include cars, trucks, bikes and quad bikes that can be run by manufacturer works teams, private individuals or standalone motorsport outfits. Of course, we’ll be focusing on the car-side of things. Keep an eye on this page for live Dakar updates and results from each day of the Dakar race.

Latest news

Day 13 - Fiambala to San Juan

With organisers cancelling the stage for the quad and bike categories, due to unfavourable conditions, those competing endured a tough day tackling changeable terrain including sand, soil and rocky tracks on the Dakar’s longest special stage. The route stretched for 325 miles though Argentina from Fiambala to San Juan.

Team Total Peugeot’s lead driver, Carlos Sainz, finished 9th after transmission problems left him with one gear by the stage’s end. Trying to capitalise on Sainz’s mechanical misfortune, Al-Attiyah surged to stage victory ahead of Peterhansel and De Villiers respectively. Ten Brinke couldn’t replicate the previous day’s success coming in to claim 5th. However, it was a proud day for X-Raid’s Orlando Terranova, who drove his Mini Rally to 4th on home soil.

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Sainz’s overall lead over Peterhansel was cut to 44min with just two stages remaining. Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Al-Attiyah remains 3rd with his teammate’s Ten Brinke and De Villiers in-tow, respectively. Przygonski is the best of the rest – outside of the Toyota/Peugeot entrants – sitting in 6th with a sizeable gap to the drivers placed either side of him in the general standings.

Sainz spoke of the difficulties he encountered and reiterated there was still plenty of time for things to change. ‘We had a difficult stage again. We had a puncture and then we had some gearbox problems, but everything is fine because we’ve finished the stage which is the important thing. We were stuck in third gear at the end of the stage so we stayed in third. But there’s still two more days… two more days’.

Day 12 – Belton to Chilceto

More sandy terrain faced the drivers on day 12 of the rally, with 174 miles of special stage taking them from Belen to Chilcetco. Team Total Peugeot and Toyota Gazoo Racing SA locked out the top six once again. However, Toyota’s Ten Brinke collected his first stage victory ahead of Peugeot’s Despres, Sainz and Peterhansel respectively, who all finished within 15sec of each other. Al-Attiyah and De Villiers followed behind in 5th and 6th.

The top five remained as before in the general standings, with Sainz maintaining an hour gap to Peterhansel. Ten Brinke’s performance put him in touching distance of Al-Attiyah who occupies the final podium place, with De Villiers in the sister car 15min behind them.

Talking after his victory, Ten Brinke had this to say. ‘It feels really good. From the beginning till now, the cooperation with Toyota and Michel was exceptional. So far, okay, it's my best Dakar... but we must finish. I don't want to think about the podium now, I don't want to have pressure. I want to enjoy winning this stage. I've worked with very talented co-drivers in the Dakar, such as Matthieu Baumel and Tom Colsoul, but I think that thanks to his experience Michel Périn does a great job.’


Day 11 – Salta to Belen

Skipping the previous stage due to bad weather saw the Dakar continue in Argentia, the third and final country featured on this year’s route. From Salta, competitors travelled 263 miles south to meet at the special stage start line. As the stage progressed, deep sand turned to rocky river beds as the route descended 2000m over 232 miles, testing the drivers’ abilities on varying terrains.

Small margins separated the front runners once again, with Peterhansel setting the pace, completing the stage in 4:43.46. Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s De Villiers was 9min behind, with Sainz’s consistency granting him 3rd, a further 4min back. Al-Attiyah suffered mechanical problems 30 miles short of the finish and he eventually crossed the line 10th, recording a stage average speed some 30mph slower than Peterhansel.

Al-Attiyah lost further ground in the overall standings, however he’s still on track for a podium finish. Peterhansel continued to reduce the deficit to Sainz who leads, although the gap stands at a significant but not insurmountable 50min with 4 stages remaining.

Having tackled the stage while feeling under the weather, De Villiers said, ‘I didn't feel so well in the morning. I had a bit of a stomach problem. We just tried to do our best, tried to be clean. It was very difficult on the first half of the special to get going, but the second half was a little bit better.’  

For a recap on earlier days head to page 2.

Dakar drivers

The mix of cars and drivers should ensure the competition will be as fierce as ever with 105 driver and co-driver pairings in the car classes this year. Team Total Peugeot will be fielding a strong driver lineup: thirteen-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel, nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz Snr – father of Torro Rosso F1 driver Carlos Sainz – will all pilot their own Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxis.

Many other drivers with plenty of Dakar experience will be returning in their search for further glory. Nasser Al-Attiyah is hoping to complete a hat-trick of victories while driving for Toyota GAZOO Racing SA, and X-Raid’s Nani Roma will want to build on his past success in the Mini John Cooper Works Rally having won in 2014.

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Driving the X-Raid John Cooper Works Buggy, Bryce Menzies, three-time Trophy Truck champion in TORC (The Off-road Championship) has been tipped for success. He had planned to race in the 2017 installment but a crash and the resulting injuries rendered him unfit for entry, but he comes into this year’s race with quiet expectation.

Dakar cars

Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi

The Maxi is an evolution of the 3008 DKR that gifted Peugeot victory in 2017. The biggest change has seen the suspension track widened by 200mm to improve the Maxi’s stability and handling. Mid-mounted within the Maxi’s steel tubular spaceframe chassis is a 3-litre twin-turbo diesel engine producing 335bhp and 590lb ft of torque. It drives the rear-wheels through a six-speed sequential gearbox. With a 400-litre fuel tank, the Maxi should be able to push towards its 124mph top speed for long periods.

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Mini John Cooper Works Rally/Buggy

Two derivatives of Mini will be taking on the Dakar, the all-new Buggy and returning Rally. Both have a BMW straight-six diesel engine producing 335bhp and 590lb ft of torque, but whereas the Rally has a four-wheel drive system, the Buggy is two-wheel drive. Engineering efforts haven’t centered exclusively around the new Buggy though, for this year’s event the Rally has revised suspension and is lighter, too.

Toyota Hilux

The Hilux has reverted to four-wheel drive after a two-wheel drive setup was used in the 2017 car, but the gearbox and naturally aspirated V8 engine have been recycled. The powertrain has, however, been reconfigured to improve performance. The suspension has also been modified to accommodate the change to four-wheel drive, now permitting more suspension travel to improve body control.

Borgward BX7 DKR

The Borgward BX7 gets a petrol engine developing 370bhp and 406lb ft of torque which is deployed through a four-wheel drive system. The presence of twin dampers at each corner should further aid traction by keeping the tyres in contact with the ground more of the time compared to single damper units. The rear brakes, manufactured by Brembo, are water-cooled to maintain optimal operating temperatures and thus maximise braking performance.

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Dakar Rally Histroy

Left in awe by his experience in the Libyan desert during the 1977 Abidjan to Nice rally, Thierry Sabine wanted to return there with a rally of his own. He persuaded 182 competitors to sign up for the inaugural Paris Dakar Rally in 1979 and join him on a 6,000-mile journey, passing through five countries over two continents. As you have probably guessed, the race starting in Paris, France and finished in Dakar, Senegal.

While the eponymous start and finish points were fixed for Paris Dakar rallies up until 1992, the route often changed. From 1993, the start and finish locations began to vary as well, with South Africa, Spain and Portugal all featuring. Africa always constituted the bulk of the route up until 2008. In that year, a terrorist attack in Mauritania forced organisers to cancel the event as the route was planned to pass through that country. Since then, the ‘Dakar Rally’ has been held in South America.

Mitsubishi has become the most successful car manufacturer in Dakar history with twelve wins, double that of Peugeot which has the second most. Stephane Peterhansel is the most decorated Dakar driver and rider in history with thirteen victories. His first win came with Yamaha in 1991, before he went on to claim more titles with Nissan, Mitsubishi, BMW, Mini and Peugeot.

Page 1 of 2Dakar Rally 2018 – cars, drivers, latest news and day 13 results

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