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03. Januar 2013, 02:20

Car race: a collision of worlds…

Whilst Peterhansel, Roma and Holowczyc are approaching the 35th edition of the Dakar with the ambition of confirming the Minis’ dominance, the threats could come from anywhere on the route to Santiago. The new rules applicable to the car category could also involve two-wheel drive vehicles in the fight for the title, which has been won by 4x4s for the last 12 years. - Copyright to A.S.O Photo Credit DPPI .

Lima, 3.1.13 Red. (mk)

The Dakar in figures 4: The number of titles up for grabs on the Dakar, in the bike, quad, car and truck categories. 10: The record number of victories on the event, held by Stephane Peterhansel with 6 titles on a bike and 4 in a car. Vladimir Chagin holds the record for victories in a single category, with 7 in the truck category. 14: The amount of day’s racing on the Dakar 2013. Timed specials will be raced on each of the stages, from 5th to 19th January with 20th January devoted to a winners’ ceremony in Santiago in Chile. 27: The number of countries visited by the Dakar since it was created. Peru is hosting the start for the first time, after having welcomed the race in 2012. 19, 7: The exact age in years and months of the youngest competitor at the start of the rally, Dutchman Robert Van Pelt, in the bike category. 53: The number of different nationalities present on the rally, which is a record. 73, 3, 23: The age in years, months and days of the oldest competitor in the rally, Francisco Claudio Regunaschi, in the car category. 123: The number of French competitors taking part in the race. The French are the leading nationality in terms of numbers, with 16% of the total. 190: The number of countries in which images of the Dakar will be broadcast, by 70 different broadcasters. 210: The number of organisation vehicles used every day on the rally (40 cars, 11 helicopters, 12 planes, 55 trucks, 5 buses, etc.). 400: The number of journalists who follow the entire rally, accounting for 1,800 press pass holders in the media family (technicians, consults, occasional contributors, etc.). 450: In cubic centimetres, the maximum power admissible for the engines of bikes enrolled on the rally. 745: The number of competitors enrolled for the race, counting riders, drivers, co-pilots and mechanics. 1066: The number of competitors enrolled to take part in the assistance teams. 1,200: In total, the estimated number of hours’ broadcasting of images of the Dakar on the world’s television channels (based on the figures for 2012). 1978: On 26th December of 1978, the start of the first edition took place, finishing in 1979. 2000: The number of message broadcasts devoted to security on 40 radio stations in Peru, Argentina and Chile. 8,574: The number of kilometres to be travelled between Lima and Santiago, with 4,146 kilometres of special stages for the bikes (and 4,155 km for the cars). 15,500: The number of equivalent tonnes of carbon emissions offset by the Dakar as part of the Madre de Dios project against deforestation, for an amount of 300,000 US dollars. 57,600: The number of followers on the official Dakar Twitter account. 601,000: The number of fans on the Dakar’s official Facebook page, several days before the start of the race. 610,000: In dollars, the donation from the Dakar over a four year period to the Techo foundation, which builds emergency housing on the South American continent. 800,000: in euros, the sum devoted to Actions Dakar projects over a 10 year period, for the development of good environmental practices in the east of Senegal. 4.3 millions: The number of unique visitors to the www.dakar.com web site during the 2012 edition of the rally. 4.5 millions: The number of spectators estimated for the start, finish and passage of the Dakar in 2012, in Argentina, Chile and Peru. 294 millions: In dollars, the direct and indirect economic impacts of the Dakar in Argentina, estimated by a government commissioned study in 2012. 1 billion: The number of television viewers that saw images of the Dakar en 2012

On the Dakar, the history of the car category has been marked by cycles of domination: Peugeot and Citroën in the 1980’s, then later Mitsubishi, before Volkswagen, who have all experienced purple patches during which they proudly boasted 1-2-3 finishes at the end of the rally. With its first victory last year thanks to Stephane Peterhansel, underlined by the second place achieved by Nani Roma, the Mini, designed and developed by the X-Raid team, is also aiming for a golden age. However, there is no reason that this barely started series will not suffer a sudden halt between Lima and Santiago. Of course, with ten titles in the bag, Stephane Peterhansel is once again the legitimate favourite to win the race and the competitiveness of both his team-mates Nani Roma and Krzysztof Holowczyc makes the German team ultra favourites for success, on the face of it.

However, the ability of the competition to challenge the Minis is a significant question, especially after the adoption of new rules that restrict modifications made to standard engines developed for the race. Already last year, the Toyota team anticipated this change and designed a pick-up to meet with the requirements for 2013. What’s more, Giniel De Villiers managed to climb on to the podium. In the meantime, the winner of the Dakar 2009 has made discretion his watchword, avoiding any confrontations with his rivals, instead spending the last year fine-tuning a Hilux which should have nothing about which to envy the Minis. Behind the South African, another leading Toyota will be driven by Argentinean Lucio Alvarez, 5th last year and perhaps capable of progressing further if the new technical rules are genuinely favourable to him.

The rules for 2013 could especially result in two-wheel drive vehicles battling for the leading places with the 4x4s. By authorising a slight enlargement of the engine air intakes, the new regulations give all the buggies extra power. Furthermore, these vehicles will also be able to use automatic tyre inflating/deflating systems to tackle the dunes unlike the 4x4s. Consequently, the ambitions of the buggy drivers are soaring high, especially when they include two former winners such as Nasser Al-Attiyah and Carlos Sainz, who both drove for VW at the time, but who will be working for a team with the backing of Qatar and Red Bull this year. The situation could also benefit Robby Gordon, who pushed the Minis hard in 2012 before being disqualified, whose Hummer is ready and waiting. As regards putting on a show and being up for a fight, the name of Guerlain Chicherit should not be forgotten. He will be making his return to the rally at the wheel of one of Philippe Gache’s buggies, also designed to win.

Whatever the outcome, if they do not manage to dethrone the Minis and Toyotas, the two-wheel drive vehicles will definitely be involved in a ferocious battle for victory in their category. The Trophy Truck belonging to Eric Vigouroux, the “Juke” of Christian Lavieille or the MD Rallye buggies driven by Pascale Thomasse and Régis Delahaye will also be in with a shout.

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Copyright to A.S.O Photo Credit DPPI

Copyright to A.S.O Photo Credit DPPI