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The Dakar, a Chilean passion

June 2 nd 2018 - 13:42

After several European stops, the Dakar Tour continued on in Santiago, Chile this Friday. Like leading riders Pablo Quintanilla (bike, Husqvarna) and Ignacio Casale (quad, Yamaha), many amateurs would like to be a part of this adventure that will take place in January 2019 in Peru with a growing interest in the SxS’. The objective: perpetuate Chile's long history with the Dakar.

Chile has always had at least one representative in the Dakar since 1989. Ever since the first participation of Carlo de Gavardo in the African Dakar, the Chilean contingent has continued to grow over the years and even more so since the arrival of the world’s toughest rally-raid in South America in 2009. This long history will continue next January, as was confirmed by the Dakar Tour evening organized in Santiago on Friday, which brought together most of the Chilean rally-raid community.

‘‘More technical stages with a premium on navigation’’

Among them, the ‘‘top riders” used to battling at the sharp end of the order like Pablo Quintanilla, who finished 8th in the most recent Dakar and 3rd in 2016. “The conditions, the dunes, the type of stages, the loops… Each day holds a surprise”, says the Husqvarna rider. Sometimes the everyday fans are wrong to believe that the short stages are easier because it is often the opposite. They will be more demanding, more technical, with more navigation and dunes. "

“It will be a particular Dakar”, says Ignacio Casale. “It will be more intense with a greater level of difficulty.” The most successful Chilean in the history of the Dakar, with his victories in the quad category in 2014 and 2018 is looking forward to the battle. “What I like about this edition is the abundance of dunes, which I was very successful in last year when I won three stages in a row in Peru.”

In Chile, the Side by Sides are all the rage

This new edition is also whetting the appetite of the amateurs. Following a tree-year absence, Luis Eguiguren is counting on being at the start. He wants to create his team and try his luck in Side by Side, which is a category for vehicles between a quad and a buggy that made their debut during the previous Dakar. “The Dakar format is ideal for the SxS with physically demanding stages and few liaison sections.”

He is not the only one to have been won over by the SxS. The popular Chilean former rally competitor Sandro Peppi, who loves a good adventure and Francisco ‘‘Chaleco’’ López, 3rd overall in the bike category in 2010 and 2013 are also preparing a return to the Dakar in this category.


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