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2014 Dakar: Argentina , Bolivia And Chile

The 2014 Dakar Rally is finally done after two weeks of hard racing across 5000 kilometers of extremely challenging cross-country roads. The 2014 Dakar Rally plotted a course across Argentina, Bolivia and Chile as the toughest of all rally raids returns to South America from January 5-18, 2014. The 2014 route was marked out between Rosario in Argentina and Valparaiso in Chile, with a marathon stage in Bolivia for the bikers at the halfway point. Bolivia became the 28th nation to host a stage of the Dakar as this unique rally continued to push the boundaries of Motorsport. Plenty of changes regarding the format of the stages were also cooked up to ensure nothing came easy at this ultimate test of endurance racing. The 2014 Dakar Rally had longer special stages, as well as several marathon stages where only the competitor could do mechanical work on his/ her machine, not the mechanics. Taking riders and drivers though Argentina’s northwest canyons and sandy valleys, it was an especially gruelling edition of the historic race.

 

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THE RESULTS

In the Moto category, defending champion Cyril Despres’ phenomenal form continued on stage 13, but it was his Red Bull KTM rival Marc Coma who took the overall victory. 18th place was all Coma needed to take his fourth Dakar title and his first since 2011. Marc Coma dedicated his win to his late teammate Kurt Caselli, who tragically died during the 2013 SCORE Baja 1000. Jordi Viladoms came home in sixth to take second place overall while Despres missed out on finishing the Dakar in third place by just 35 seconds when fellow Frenchman Olivier Pain crossed the line.

 

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In the cars, Nani Roma took his second Dakar title exactly ten years after taking the title in the bikes. 11-time Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel was running well but stopped at the 133km mark to wait for his Mini team-mates Roma and third-placed driver Nasser Al-Attiyah. Roma dedicated the win to former co-driver Henri Magne, who died in a race in 2006.

 

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It was a close contest in the trucks as Gerard de Rooy crossed the finish line in first on his IVECO, but had to wait for news on the Kamaz of Andrey Karginov. An accident in the cars category had halted Karginov’s charge but he and his crew were later declared winners by over three minutes after their time was re-assessed. Eduard Nikolaev on a KAMAZ ended third.

 

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The quads saw Ignacio Casale take the Dakar title in style by winning the final stage. Casale won stage 13 by 54 seconds from Sebastian Husseini and over 3 minutes from Rafał Sonik.

 

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WHAT IS THE DAKAR RALLY?

“A CHALLENGE FOR THOSE WHO GO. A DREAM FOR THOSE WHO STAY BEHIND.”

 

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Formerly known as the Paris-Dakar Rally, this enduring challenge originated back in 1977, when Thierry Sabine got lost on his motorbike in the Libyan Desert during the Abidjan-Nice Rally. Saved from the sands, he returned to France and the Dakar Rally began. Despite its ‘rally’ name, the Dakar Rally is an off-road endurance race, properly called a rally raid rather than a conventional rally. The terrain that the competitors traverse through comprise of off-road, crossing dunes, mud, camel grass, rocks and erg among others. Unlike the modified vehicles used in other rallies, the vehicles used here are true off-road vehicles. A distance ranging from 500-1000 kms per day is covered during the nearly 15 day long cross country endurance rally. The major competitive groups in the Dakar include the Moto class, Car class, Truck class and Quad class. Both a motor race and an orienteering challenge, the Dakar Rally pits some of the world’s greatest offroad drivers against amateur competitors, for whom the race is often the culmination of their dreams and who come to take up the challenge with their motorcycles, quad bikes, cars and trucks. Entering the Dakar is, in a certain way, like climbing Everest, sailing round the globe or rowing round the world. The places on the final podium represent an exceptional challenge, sometimes that of a lifetime. Participants of more than fifty nationalities come together every year for this race where competition and help go hand in hand, which is watched on television by over a billion viewers in 190 countries.

 

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DAKAR RALLY IN FIGURES

4-The number of titles up for grabs at the Dakar, including the motorcycle, quad, car and truck categories.

7-The most victories in a single category, held by Vladimir Chagin with 7 wins in trucks.

11-The record number of victories at the rally, held by Stéphane Peterhansel with six wins on motorcycles and five in cars.

14-The number of racing days at the Dakar Rally.

18-The age of Jeremias Gonzalez Ferioli, the youngest competitor in Dakar history.

70-The number of people, including 27 competitors, who have lost their lives in the Dakar Rally ever since its inception in 1978.

431-The total number of vehicles that started from the beginning of the rally in 2014 which included 174 motorbikes, 147 cars, 70 trucks and 40 quads

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