The OFFICIAL ROUTE of the #Dakar2017 will be revealed next Tuesday (26th of April), in Paris, at the occasion of a press conference, and via our social medias…

Stay tuned !


Ramirez, heading to the Dakar

The first Dakar Challenge of the season was decided after four days of competition on the Sonora Rally in Mexico with Ivan Ramirez winning his entry for the 2017 Dakar. In successfully doing more than just following the winner in the general classification, Quinn Cody.

The first potential entry for the 2017 Dakar is Mexican! Ivan Ramirez, the then teenager who was spotted during his first appearance on the Baja 500 nearly ten years ago, won this privilege by winning in the Dakar Challenge held last week on the Sonora Rally in his home country of Mexico.

A field of 30 motorcycle, quad and SSV riders fought in the heart of North America's biggest desert. After four days of navigation intensive racing, the veteran Quinn Cody (9th on the 2011 Dakar) took top honours in the general classification. But behind him, the next generation of riders was particularly valiant, because his two closest pursuers Ivan Ramirez and Mark Samuels put on a fierce battle for the big prize of a free entry for next year's Dakar. When the dust settled, Ramirez beat Samuels by 16 minutes… won in its entirety on the last stage of the rally. This says a lot about the coolness and state of mind of the 23-year old rider, aware that this new experience is such a valuable part of his training; “I had four incredible days in this my first participation in the Sonora Rally. It was a great experience to be able to learn about navigating and battle with Quinn Cody at the same time.” When all was said and done, six minutes separated the young hopeful and the veteran. To be continued…

Dakar Challenge : Youth to take centre stage

Before knowing what the route of the 2017 Dakar will be, two dates are already confirmed on the Dakar Challenge calendar. On the Sonora Rally in Mexico, then on the Merzouga Rally in Morocco, the most promising riders in rally-raid will compete to win their entry for next year's edition of the Dakar. In South Africa, the victor of the Dakar Challenge in the Amageza Rally will win entry for the 2018 Dakar.

Sonora Rally: 3-7 April 2016
The venue demands respect. Simply said, at 320,000km², Sonora is the largest expanse of desert in North America, slightly more than the surface area of Italy! The first edition of the rally, from 3-7 April, 2016, will see the riders and teams take on an array of different terrains over four stages with priority given to off-track sectors. Buoyed by rally-raid regulars like Darren Skilton and Scott Whitney, the Sonora Rally takes and even extends the principles of the Cortez Rally, won in 2015 by Quinn Cody (9th on the 2011 Dakar). Most importantly, it emphasizes discovery and perfecting navigation: only a road-book and the most basic GPS will be permitted for the riders to find their way. And a “Malles Moto” (“bike trunk”) system will be implemented for those who want to ride without assistance. Under these conditions, the selection for the Dakar Challenge will without a doubt reveal which riders are capable to take on the ultimate test.
Information and registration: www.sonorarally.com

Merzouga Rally: 21-27 May 2016
For a long time the name has rung like the call to an adventure, and the event is already a reference in the rally-raid world. The list of past winners of the Merzouga Rally includes Helder Rodrigues, Sam Sunderland and Alessandro Botturi. And for edition 7, Marc Coma will be the Sporting Director of the Moroccan round of the Dakar Series. The Spaniard actually wants to create a learning lab with the Merzouga. Over six days of competition, the riders, most of whom come from enduro or motocross will face the difficulties and charms of the discipline: scaling dunes, the reading and interpretation of a road-book, managing the length of the stages, etc… With a field including Dakar veterans and up and coming riders attracted by new terrains, the formula will allow for converting the young talents.
Information and registration: www.merzougarally.com

Amageza Rally: November 5 - 12 2016
South Africa is one of the nations with a strong link to the Dakar… and not just since the victory of Giniel De Villiers in 2009. Alfie Cox, for example, had already been among the front-runners in the motorcycle category in the years after the millennium, while veteran observers will remember the voyage that took the rally all the way to Cape Town in 1992. It is perhaps in this memory that the South African rally-raid community draws on in its intense activity and interest for the Dakar. A generation is already beginning to settle in the car category, with Leeroy Poulter (5th on the Dakar in 2016) and Mark Corbett (18th), and in the quad category, Brian Baragwanath (3rd). And the Amageza Rally sets up as the ideal terrain for South African, Namibian and Angolan riders and drivers, who are adding to the ranks of the representatives of the region in the future, to show their stuff. The seven days of scheduled competition offers a range of terrains similar to those found on the Dakar in South America: dunes, rocky tracks, river crossings, etc. As for navigation, their abilities will be particularly tested in the bush. Given the positioning of the Amageza on the calendar, the winner of the Dakar Challenge will win his entry for the 2018 edition of the Dakar.
Information and registration: www.amageza.com/#!amageza-rallye/mzumb


218 vehicles (84 motorcycles, 23 quads, 67 cars and 44 trucks) managed to finish the 2016 edition of the Dakar, which saw Stéphane Peterhansel claim his sixth win in the car category after another six in the motorcycle race for a grand total of twelve. Mister Dakar, the leader of the Peugeot dream team that dominated the race with nine stage wins out of twelve, expanded his palmarès with a symbolic victory that restored the Lion brand to its former glory 26 years after Ari Vatanen's last win at the wheel of a 405. Nasser Al-Attiyah (Mini) and Giniel de Villiers (Toyota Hilux) completed the podium. Toby Price posted a flawless performance in his second Dakar participation to win the motorcycle category and become the first Dakar champion from Australia. This edition was also a watershed for the category, with five rookies in the final top 10. Meanwhile, the quad race was a classic comeback story, with the two Patronelli Bros. running the show and Marcos at the forefront. 2012 champion Gerard de Rooy claimed his second Dakar win in the truck category.

Cars: "Peter" rolls a double six!
Whatever Jean de la Fontaine may say, lions can also become hares and win long-distance races. In his defence, the 17th-century fabulist could not have foreseen the ups-and-downs of the Dakar or the impact of the dunes of Fiambalá on the race, let alone the performances of the Peugeot 2008 DKR after a lacklustre 2015 edition or Stéphane Peterhansel's supreme dominance. All these factors helped decide the outcome of the 38th edition, which was marked by the ascendancy of the Peugeot buggies, first arrogant, then uncertain, and finally triumphant thanks to the talent of their leader, who won his 12th Dakar! Halfway through the race, the dream team was in the lead with a trident headed by Sébastien Loeb, who eventually floundered on the dunes and the ríos, while Carlos Sainz pushed his car too hard for it to survive the journey to Rosario. In two days, the three-man act gave way to a one-man show with the climax in the stage to La Rioja, in the heart of the dunes of Fiambalá: "Mister Dakar" finished an hour ahead of the competition and then played it safe all the way to Rosario, escorted by luxury guardian angels Loeb and Despres.

"Peter" never really faced any competition, with Nasser Al-Attiyah acknowledging he was merely playing the antagonist's role in someone else's play. However, the defending champion got stronger and more aggressive in the second week, capping his trek through Argentina and Bolivia with two stage wins and a silver medal that seemed a pie in the sky when he left Salta after the rest day. Behind the Qatari, Giniel de Villiers gave another master class in consistency to claim his fifth podium spot in thirteen starts. The Toyota was unable to threaten the Peugeot any more than the Mini, but four Hilux cars finished in the top 10 thanks to the solid performances of Leeroy Poulter (fifth) and Vladimir Vasilyev (eighth). However, Mini dominated the top 10, where Nasser Al-Attiyah was closely followed by top rookie Mikko Hirvonen (fifth), Nani Roma (seventh) and another rising star making his debut, Harry Hunt (tenth).

Motorcycles: Price leads a whole new generation
Not even Stéphane Peterhansel, Marc Coma and Cyril Despres, the most decorated competitors in the history of the Dakar, managed to do what Toby Price did this year —winning the most prestigious rally raid in the world in his second participation. "It's an amazing record", blurted the KTM rider at the finish in Rosario. "To be the first Australian to win the Dakar in all divisions is crazy." Price built his success on a surprising degree of maturity. The 28-year-old lad read the two weeks of racing like an open book. "I pushed the days I needed to push and I looked after the bike the most in the marathon stages", he explains. Toby Price made no mistakes in this department. The Australian made the most of a reliable KTM that won its fifteenth Dakar in a row, skilfully avoiding the pitfalls that swallowed his main rivals and seizing the lead just after the rest day. Joan Barreda and Paulo Gonçalves, both pretenders to the crown, failed to reach the finish. The Spaniard was hit by a mechanical near Uyuni, while the Portuguese rider saw his hopes go up in smoke in Fiambalá, also due to engine troubles. Bolivia was also the graveyard of Ruben Faria and Matthias Walkner's podium ambitions. The Portuguese suffered a broken hand and the Austrian a broken femur. Slovak Štefan Svitko and Chilean Pablo Quintanilla had a better Dakar and escorted Toby Price on the final podium.

The 38th Dakar also consecrated a new generation of riders who made their debut this year. Argentinian Kevin Benavides was the South American revelation and finished fourth overall after winning the third stage. Antoine Méo fought Kevin Benavides and Pablo Quintanilla for a podium place for most of the race. However, a heavy fall on the day before the finish in Rosario pushed the five-time enduro world champion down to seventh place overall. The two-time winner of the Enduropale du Touquet, Adrien Van Beveren, also rode strongly and overtook Méo for sixth place in the closing stage. American Ricky Brabec, who flew the flag in the general classification for Honda, and Spaniard Armand Monleón rounded off the top 10.

Quads: Marcos Patronelli keeps it in the family
The Patronelli Bros. quickly dispelled any doubts on their ability to stage a victorious comeback to the Dakar. Alejandro and Marcos were in the mix from the start, but they also benefited from the other favourites' bad luck. After last year's winner, Rafał Sonik, was forced out of the race by mechanical problems, it was the turn of his predecessor Ignacio Casale to go home with two stages… and a broken collarbone. The pace set by the Patronelli Bros. quickly cleared up any doubts except which of the two would take the trophy in Rosario. The younger brother, Marcos, eventually outgunned Alejandro and overtook him both in the general classification (by just 5′23″) and in the number of overall wins (three to two). Meanwhile, their closest rival, South Africa's Brian Baragwanath, finished 1 h 41′ back.

Trucks: Gerard de Rooy and Iveco reign supreme
This time round, the boot was on the other foot for Kamaz. The blue trucks came to Buenos Aires with the defending champion, Ayrat Mardeev, as well as last year's number 2 (Eduard Nikolaev) and number 3 (Andrey Karginov), but they will leave Rosario with quite an empty bag (three stages for Nikolaev and zero days in the lead). Their inspired and competitive rivals at Iveco and Man put paid to their chances. After 2012, this was the second South American edition to feature just one Kamaz on the podium (Mardeev). At least back then they could say they were bang in the middle of the post-Chagin transition. With the Kamaz trucks found lacking, Gerard de Rooy moved into the lead in stage 8 and never looked back. It is his second win, after the one he took in 2012, as destiny would have it. The heir, De Rooy, finished with a comfortable margin and three stage wins under his belt. The race was energised by an old acquaintance, cousin Hans Stacey (Man), who won the 2007 edition and the closing stage this year, as well as a surprising Federico Villagra (Iveco), who finished third in his first participation in the truck category. The constructors' results also reveal a new balance of power in the category: Kamaz only got two trucks in the top 10, compared with Iveco's four.


stage 13 :314 - SEBASTIEN LOEB: "It leaves you wanting more"
"We were very competitive overall, both the car and us. We ran into some trouble in the stages with navigation, but now we know what we've got to work on. Some navigation stages were fun, but others in the desert were... [more]

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