Happy new year’s ! That means it’s time for another installment of the last great endurance rally, Dakar. I’m sticking with the “cars” in this post, but feel free to add anything in the comments.
This should be an interesting year, Peugeot has returned with a redesigned car after their struggle last year. They have also added Sebastian Loeb, but will he be a contender? It’s hard to say Loeb won’t be, yes Dakar is longer than anything he’s done before. However the man is a gifted driver and athlete and I would be surprised if he didn’t challenge at all. If the Peugeots can stay running they certainly have stacked the team with winners. Stéphane Peterhansel is to Dakar, what Loeb is to WRC, the winningest driver in Dakar history. Carlos Sainz, two time WRC champion and Dakar winner. Sainz rarely seems to have good motorsports luck, if you can call it that, but still Sainz skill and will to win can not be underestimated. Finally to round out team Peugeot is Cyril Despres, a five time winner of Dakar on a motorcycle. Peugeot has “4 bullets in the gun” as they say, so it will be really interesting if there are multiple Peugeots contending near the end of the Rally, what the team orders might be.
Now of course there is the Privateers and defending champions from 2015. The Axion X-Raid team. Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel. These two made it look easy last year, very few mechanical issues, consistent driving. It was a text book victory. Curious that both teams are sponsored by RedBull, but whatever, energy drinks are what big tobacco was 20 years ago I guess.
Of course for us Americans we get to root for Robby Gordon, who’s running a two car team this year.
Gordan will be driving is now iconic #312 Orange Gordini and #337 will be piloted by the 2015 Stadium super truck champion, x-game gold medalist, 18 year old Sheldon Creed. Creed will be the youngest competitor this year.
Gordon is an underdog, but has become a crowd favorite over the years and even grabbed a 3rd place podium in 2009. Gordon has this wild flat out driving style that is just boat loads of fun to watch.
I haven’t seen any mention of U.S. t.v. coverage, anybody else know whats up ?
Images curtesy of RedBull content poop, BMW press and Team Speed.