The 2013 Dakar is over. In the Cars Class and in the Bike Class it is safe to say that the favorites won. Stephane Peterhansel in his Mini won the Dakar for the 11th time. In the Bike Class, Cyril Despres won for the fifth time. While both of these results were not surprises, both of these results are remarkable.
Stephane Peterhansel Won The Cars Class
Peterhansel’s Mini (nee BMW) team did very well putting four cars in the top five, if you include the BMW of Terranova. Other makes had some good finishes as well, including a Chinese Great Wall car that finished 6th Overall.
The Overall standings in the Car Class for the 2013 Dakar Rally are presented in the following table:
2013 Dakar Rally Final Results/Standings – Cars Class
|1||PETERHANSEL (FRA)COTTRET (FRA)||MINI||38:32:39||–||–|
|2||DE VILLIERS (ZAF)VON ZITZEWITZ (DEU)||TOYOTA||39:15:01||00:42:22||–|
|3||NOVITSKIY (RUS)ZHILTSOV (RUS)||MINI||40:01:01||01:28:22||–|
|4||ROMA (ESP)PÉRIN (FRA)||MINI||40:09:22||01:36:43||–|
|5||TERRANOVA (ARG)FIUZA (PRT)||BMW||40:21:49||01:49:10||–|
|6||SOUSA (PRT)RAMALHO (PRT)||GREAT WALL||41:10:55||02:38:16||–|
|7||CHABOT (FRA)PILLOT (FRA)||SMG||41:50:44||03:18:05||00:01:00|
|8||CHICHERIT (FRA)GARCIN (FRA)||SMG||42:00:23||03:27:44||–|
|9||THOMASSE (FRA)LARROQUE (FRA)||BUGGY MD RALLYE||43:08:11||04:35:32||–|
|10||ÁLVAREZ (ARG)GRAUE (ARG)||TOYOTA||43:18:27||04:45:48||–|
American Robby Gordon had many very good daily stage results, but three bad days, particularly Day 4 when he had an end-over roll cost him over five hours which put him well back in the field. He wound up finishing in 14th place overall. He has demonstrated that his Hummer is fast enough to win. I think that the missing elements for him to win are the lack of a team mate to assist him during problems and the need to develop a little better sense of when to push and when to back off a little, not on a daily basis, but on a kilometer by kilometer basis. I hope that he is able to come back next year. I realize that Dakar is very demanding physically, time requirements, and financially.
After his finish Stephane Peterhansel had the following to say: “It’s a special moment: fifteen days of racing full of emotions and tension and, now, the pressure vanishes all of a sudden. I’m thinking of Jean-Claude Olivier, who passed away last week. He taught me everything I know, so the second week was quite hard because I thought of him throughout. Now I’m dedicating this win to him, and we’ll try to enjoy it despite it all. A race is never won from the beginning. The team did a cracking job. We never stopped, we never had a mechanical. We only had to drive as fast as we could. On the other hand, my co-driver Jean-Paul did an amazing job navigating. We never had to ease up. We always maintained a high pace, apart from the last couple of days, when we started dosing our efforts. This is the first time since I started racing in cars that we’ve finished a race without a single mechanical problem. This is the best car I’ve ever driven. It wasn’t an easy victory, because we knew the buggies would be fast. But this situation enabled me to focus from the start of the race. I attacked to open up a gap between me and my rivals. It’s still a strong flavour because we’ve got a whole team behind us. Sven Qandt has been involved in the Dakar for over a decade and he’ll be sharing in this win together with everyone who works with us.”
As noted before Cyril Despres won the Bike Class for the fifth time. While it was a good victory, it was somewhat diminished in that his main Dakar rival, Marc Coma, was not able to compete in this event this year. Despres was a part of the KTM which dominated the overall results. The top 5 riders rode KTM motorcycles.
During the 2013 Dakar Rally riders on other makes won stages and had good days, but the KTM team just kept on rolling and staying at the top of the overall standings.
Kurt Caselli, an American rider who was Marc Coma’s protoge, won two stages and showed signs that he could be a contender in future Dakar rallies. He like Robby Gordon, had a very bad day which relegated him to finsh down in the overall standings in 31st place.
The final overall standings in the Bike Class for the 2013 Dakar Rally are presented in the following table:
2013 Dakar Rally Final Results/Standings – Bike Class
Cyril Despres had the following to say after his victory: “It’s true that I needed to cross the line and see all these pictures and people here to know that no-one can take this win from me anymore. I went for it, with all the surprises a Dakar can throw at you: little navigational mistakes, perhaps fewer than the others, dosing my motorcycle and a good team. In the end, I’ve got a good reason to be very happy. The day when winning the Dakar becomes easy, it won’t be interesting any more. And this day is still far! It’s too long, it’s too tough, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, you’ve got to rise early in the morning, you’ve got to find your way out of the dune mazes in Peru and Chile, you’ve got to tackle the stones and cactuses on the courses near Córdoba… It’s just too tricky for it to be easy to win. And it’s even better when you win a difficult race. I’m always focused on what I have to do: I think too much about this race to be impressed. We’re up against a gruelling element, the desert. Then there are the stones, the Andes… and we experience them. It’s as real as it gets.”
Now that the 2013 Dakar Rally is over, I look forward to getting a full night’s sleep instead of getting up at 2:00AM every night to see the daily video from Dakar. That said I look forward to next year’s Dakar.