A Dakar with a large Argentinean presence
Over the past ten years the Dakar has forged strong ties with Argentina, which had hosted the rally since its arrival in South America. Even though Argentina will not be part of the 2019 Dakar itinerary, the Argentinean contingent will be represented by competitors from all its different regions, who will proudly represent the blue and white on the world’s most challenging rally-raid to be held next January in Peru.
Dakar Director, Etienne Lavigne was on hand in Buenos Aires yesterday for the Argentinean stop of the Dakar Tour. The strong turnout of local competitors and teams is proof of Argentina’s passion for motor racing and in particular the Dakar.
The fact that Argentina was the second largest delegation on the 2018 Dakar was not a coincidence. It was the result of a fantastic ten-year collaboration with the event since its arrival on South American soil. The Dakar in Argentina is especially synonymous with star competitors, spectacular results and extraordinary human stories provided the participants, the avid Argentinean fans and of course the natural splendour.
Argentina’s biggest rally-raid stars made quite an impression on the 2018 edition. Last January, Kevin Benavides posted the best ever result for an Argentinean in the motorcycle category, finishing runner-up, while Nicolas Cavigliasso was 2nd in the quad class followed by his compatriot Jeremías Gonzalez Ferioli. Sebastian Halpern was 10th in the car category, while Lucio Alvarez finished in 11th place. In the truck division, Federico Villagra was running among the class leaders just until he retired. We can confirm without any doubt that the Argentinean Dakar competitors have matured and are now among the most competitive. The Dakar Tour was also an occasion to present the 2018 edition of the Desafío
Ruta 40 that will take place in Argentina from August 25th to the 31st. The event will once again be part of the Dakar Series and will offer a major advantage to those who want to test themselves on the 2019 Dakar in Peru.
Franco Caimi: “We are very motivated about the idea of taking part in the 2019 Dakar. Even though the rally will not leave the Peruvian borders, we know that Peru has everything need to organise a Dakar. It will be a fun rally, but it will be complicated with a lot of navigation and very little traditional rallying. We are already thrilled about being at the start.”
Kevin Benavides: “We already want to be there. This year, we came very close to winning. I hope to be even stronger on the 2019 Dakar. It is a dream that I want to accomplish. The 2019 Dakar will be different. There will be ten stages, less liaison and it will be run exclusively in Peru. The new stuff presented tonight is interesting and we have to take this into account in our race strategy, which will have to be adapted. There are still 6 months to go, and yet we can already feel the Dakar atmosphere.”
Juan Manuel ‘Pato’ Silva: “Time goes by fast and we will soon be there. Even though I am disappointed that the rally will not go to Argentina, the route will be that of a proper Dakar. Peru is waiting for us and we are preparing flat out for this 100% Peru edition. I will be participating with Martin Maldonado and Colcar Racing. He will be in the car category. I’m not sure where I’ll be. Behind the wheel of a car or… in a Side-by-Side. The SxS class is really tempting.”
Desafío Ruta 40: return of the Dakar Series
After 2013, 2014 and 2015, 2019 will mark the return of the Desafío Ruta 40 to the Dakar Series. This will be the fourth edition of the Desafío Ruta 40 under the Dakar Series banner, which is now a must do event on the rally-raid calendar and will be held from August 25-31, 2018 in the Cuyo and Noroeste regions (Tucumán, Catamarca, La Rioja and San Juan).