Section: Dakar

Dakar: Bikes: Coma claims fifth Dakar crown

Spain’s Marc Coma cruised into Buenos Aires a hero as he claimed his fifth Dakar Rally bike title.

Ivan Jakes won the shortened final stage of the race from Rosario to Buenos Aires, but the day belonged to Spanish legend Coma, who clocked an overall time of 46 hours three minutes 49 seconds for the gruelling race.

Portugal’s Paulo Goncalves finished second, 16:53 behind, with Australian rookie Toby Price finishing a magnificent third on his debut.

Coma’s tally of five wins sees him equal the mark of the great Cyril Despres – who took part in the car race this year – and puts him one victory away from matching the overall record of Stephane Peterhansel.

“I’m over the moon, that’s for sure. But even on the last day we weren’t able to take it easy. There was a storm, the ground got muddy and with desert tyres it wasn’t too easy,” said Coma.

“Our arrival in Bolivia heralded a decisive moment. We knew that. I survived and made it through Salar de Uyuni. That was the key moment.


“So I’m very happy. Delighted to be here. It’s been a life’s work with the entire team, the ideal bike… Now, after so much effort, it’s time to relax and have fun.”

Goncalves was left to rue an engine change following the 10th stage on Wednesday night, bringing with it a 16 minute penalty that extended Coma’s lead to 21 minutes at the time – and allowed the Spaniard to drive more conservatively over the final few days.

“There was a time when I was within striking distance of Marc Coma because there were hardly five minutes between us, but then I got a penalty for changing my engine,” he said.

“I was helped by my team-mate Jeremías Israel, who gave me his engine and without whom I’d never made it here to take second place. So this one’s for him. And we’ll try again next year.”

Price had no such misgivings after one of the best Dakar debuts in years.

“Being here in third place is insane! I’m at a loss for words,” he said.

“When I decided to sign up three or four months ago, I was quite nervous, I didn’t know what I was getting into. And now I’m on the finish line… happy.”

Final standings

1. Marc Coma (ESP/Ktm) 46 h 03:49.

2. Paulo Goncalves (POR/Honda) 16:53. (pénalité: 17:00.)

3. Toby Price (AUS/Ktm) 23:14.

4. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI/Ktm) 38:38.

5. Stefan Svitko (SVK/Ktm) 44:17.

6. Ruben Faria (POR/Ktm) 1 h 57:50. (pénalité: 41:00.)

7. David Casteu (FRA/Ktm) 2 h 00:14.

8. Ivan Jakes (SVK/Ktm) 2 h 18:18.

9. Laia Sanz Pla-Giribert (ESP/Honda) 2 h 24:21.

10. Olivier Pain (FRA/Yamaha) 3 h 09:09.

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Dakar: Cars: Al-Attiyah storms to second Dakar crown

Nasser Al-Attiyah completed a dominant victory in the 2015 Dakar Rally car race after safely coming through the final day’s stage to make the finish line in Buenos Aires.

Robby Gordon won the shortened final stage of the race in 13 minutes 16 seconds ahead of Leeroy Poulter, but Al-Attiyah’s sixth spot – 39 seconds back – was easily enough to give him a second Dakar victory following his 2011 triumph.

The Qatari driver was one of the hot favourites ahead of the event, and justified that status by winning the opening stage – only to be stripped of that honour by being handed a two-minute penalty for speeding on a link section. He quickly shrugged it off, winning the second stage of the race in fine style by almost ten minutes to take charge of the race, and he never looked back thereafter.

“I’m delighted I’ve won the Dakar,” he said afterwards.

“It’s fantastic because we’ve dominated the race from the beginning and were able to control the rally throughout. I’ve got lots of people to thank for this.


“I came to the Dakar in top-notch form, both physically and mentally. Then, we managed to do our job day after day. It’s fantastic. Now I want to win even more.”

His arch-rival for the title, Nani Roma, suffered a catastrophic breakdown on the second stage that cost him over two hours and took him out of the equation, and South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers eventually finished second – some 35 minutes 34 seconds off Al-Attiyah’s winning aggregate time of 40 hours 32 minutes and 25 seconds.

“Everyone wants to finish on the top step, but we’ve got reason to be proud of what we’ve done because we took the fight to Nasser for quite a while,” said De Villiers.

“He did the best race, well played. It’s a bit frustrating, but that’s racing for you. It takes several years to develop a car that can win the Dakar. After four years of existence, the Toyota Hilux has made leaps and bounds, a lot of work’s gone into it.”

In third place, almost an hour further back, was Poland’s Krzysztof Holowczyz, finishing on the podium at last in his 10th Dakar.

“I decided to drive fast but safely, and this strategy works at the rally,” he said.

” I stayed calm every day, whether I was fourth or fifth… and I ended up on the podium. I think I found my pace.

“Of course, we look at the top of the podium, but I’m delighted with my third place. I’ve won races and events in other disciplines, but standing on the podium of the Dakar is something new because this race is really special.
“When you finish this rally, you’re so tired you never want to come back, but two months later you’re ready to jump back in.”

Final standings

1. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Matthieu Baumel (QAT/FRA/Mini) 40 h 32:25. (penalties: 2:00.)

2. Giniel De Villiers/Dirk Von Zitzewitz (RSA/GER/Toyota) à 35:34.

3. Krzysztof Holowczyc/Xavier Panseri (POL/FRA/Mini) 1 h 32:01.

4. Erik Van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NED/NED/Mini) 3 h 01:52. (penalties: 40:00.)

5. Vladimir Vasilyev/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS/Mini) 3 h 12:41.

6. Christian Lavieille/Pascal Maimon (FRA/FRA/Toyota) 3 h 15:58.

7. Bernhard Ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul (NED/BEL/Toyota) 3 h 42:02.

8. Carlos Sousa/Paulo Fiuza (POR/POR/Mitsubishi) 3 h 44:59. (penalties: 40:00.)

9. Aidyn Rakhimbayev/Anton Nikolaev (KAZ/RUS/Mini) 4 h 08:44. (penalties: 30.)

10. Ronan Chabot/Gilles Pillot (FRA/FRA/Smg) 4 h 42:36.

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Dakar: Al-Attiyah impresses on stage four to extend overall lead

A blistering late stint from Nasser Al-Attiyah on stage four of the Dakar Rally helped him extend his lead to over eight minutes.

Spain’s Nani Roma finished second, two minutes and 40 seconds adrift, with Giniel de Villiers taking third as the 9,000 kilometre race travelled from Chilecito to Copiapo.

Al-Attiyah leads de Villiers in the overall standings by eight minutes and 15 seconds. Yazeed Al Rajhi is in third, more than 23 minutes off the pace.

The day was overshadowed by the news that Polish motorbike rider Michal Hernik had died during the race in Argentina.

Hernik is the fifth driver to die since the race moved to South America in 2009.

Stage four results

1 Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) 3:09:18
2 Nani Roma (ESP) 3:11:58 +02:40
3 Giniel de Villiers (RSA) 3:12:15 +02:57
4 Yazeed Al Rajhi (KSA) 3:12:43 +03:25
5 Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA) 3:15:06 +05:48
6 Bernard ten Brinke (NED) 3:15:28 +06:10
7 Ronan Chabot (FRA) 3:20:41 +11:23
8 Christian Lavieille (FRA) 3:26:24 +17:06
9 Leeroy Poulter (RSA) 3:26:35 +17:17
10 Erik van Loon (NED) 3:26:49 +17:31

Overall standings

1 Nasser Al-Attiyah 12:30:44
2 Giniel de Villiers + 8:15
3 Yazeed Al Rajhi + 23:33
4 Bernard ten Brinke + 42:32
5 Krzystof Holowczyc + 43:30
6 Erik van Loon + 45:14
7 Carlos Sousa + 59:26
8 Christian Lavieille + 1:00:44
9 Aidyn Rakhimbayev + 1:04:23
10 Ronan Chabot + 1:11:30

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Dakar: Scrutineering over with 406 vehicles ready to go

161 motorcycles, 45 quads, 137 cars and 63 trucks were subjected to three days of technical and administrative checks in Tecnópolis.

The start list of the 37th Dakar has been finalised after competitors and vehicles were subjected to three days of technical and administrative checks in Tecnópolis. 406 vehicles have been cleared to set off from Buenos Aires tomorrow morning and head towards the first bivouac of the race in Villa Carlos Paz: 161 motorcycles, 45 quads, 137 cars and 63 trucks.

In the hours before the highly prestigious presentation ceremony in front of Casa Rosada, the competitors attended a general briefing, where they all gathered for the first and last time in this edition to listen to race director Étienne Lavigne’s last-minute tips and words of encouragement.


Dakar: 2015 Preview

The 2015 edition of the Dakar Rally begins in Buenos Aires on 3rd January.

The rally will also pass through Chile and Bolivia before finishing in Argentina on January 17th after 13 stages of competition.

The four major groups that compete in Dakar are motorcycles, quads, cars and trucks, and the race is open to both professional and amateur competitors.

Defending champion 2014 in the car category Joan Roma, said: “It will not be easy. It is never easy to win the Dakar.

“This year it may be even tougher than usual as there will be quite a lot of competition with the involvement of such a team as Peugeot with their very good drivers,” he added.

The 2015 Dakar

The only way to complete the Dakar is through a combination of endurance and determination. The competitors will have an additional problem to resolve on the 9,000 kilometres to be covered in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia: adopting and maintaining the right momentum, while the route continuously endeavours to break it. Depending on the day, both the setting and the pace will change, moving from rocky routes to desert dunes and from endurance stages to extreme sprints. Given the competitors’ inability to recognize clearly identifi ed sections, in particular they must capitalise upon their ability to adapt… and to control their stamina. The marathon stages will defi nitely remind them of this basic rule of off-road races.

Marathon Stages

The Dakar tests competitors and their vehicles in extreme endurance. The marathon stages, where drivers cannot use their assistance teams, are a particular test of their ability to independently manage their mechanics. This year, cars and trucks, which have not taken part in a marathon stage since 2005, will have to tackle this additional difficulty.

Split over two days, a marathon stage involves some of the competitors spending the night in an isolated bivouac. The vehicles are taken into a closed area, where only help between competitors is authorised. Despite the technical challenge which this constraint represents, the drivers also enjoy a different, highly convivial atmosphere. In Uyuni, it will be the car teams which will spend a night apart, followed by the motorcyclists and quad bikers the next day. The truck category will have its own dedicated bivouac in the middle of the Atacama Desert.

To make organisation of the marathon stages possible, a new system has been set up at the heart of the extended stay in Iquique. So, on 11th January, three races will take place on three different routes and in two countries. This meant there was also a need to incorporate staggered rest days for the motorcyclists and quad bikers.

Different Routes

For several years now, the organisers have used their in-depth knowledge of the South American terrain to refi ne the routes and off er specifi c features for each category. For the 2015 edition, the motorcyclists and quad bikers will face an additional diffi culty, with a particularly dense second week: four marathon days in total. 35% of the kilometres they cover without the cars and trucks will be in the form of special stages.

Different routes and rest days also gives the car teams the opportunity to fully demonstrate their potential, both in terms of driving and navigation. With 1,382km of open space (a third of the special stages) the cars will be able to compete without being slowed down by overtaking… and will also enjoy routes on virgin terrain. The truck drivers will find themselves in this situation for more than 600km.

Three Countries: Argentina, Chile, Bolivila


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