The Dakar Rally is now under way. This is one of the world’s greatest motor sport events. Today 137 cars, 161 bikes, 45 quads, and 63 trucks started the 2015 Dakar Rally. I wish each of them all the best for this rally. This is a reality show at its best. It is a tough event that can be very cruel to the competitors. An example of the cruelty of this event is today’s story about last year’s winner in the Car Class, Nani Roma. Unfortunately Roma had mechanical problems in today’s Stage 1 and had to be towed into the Stage 1 finish. He finished in last place – 6 hours behind the leaders.
Last Year’s Winner, Nani Roma, Being Towed Into Stage 1 Finish
Many people say that he only won last year because of team orders that told the Minis to hold positions, which prevented Stephane Peterhansel from challenging Roma for the win, when most people thought, myself included, that Peterhansel was faster. I expect that team orders are going to come into play this year as well. Roma is fast, but clearly he can not win this year, but he can fulfill a key role by providing fast service to the remainder of the Mini team. I’d say that he owes his Mini team mates from last year and now is the time to pay the team back.
Nani Roma Facing Reality That Effectively His Dakar Rally Is Over
The winner of Stage 1 in the Car Class was Nasser Al-Attiyah in a Mini. He is fast and very competitive in everything he does. However, I suspect that he requires a great deal of management and attention to find the right balance between speed and aggression and the endurance and team aspects of the Dakar Rally.
Nasser Al-Attiyah In The Crowded Streets of Buenos Aires
The results of the 2015 Dakar Rally Stage 1 in the Car Class are shown below.
2015 Dakar Rally Car Class Stage 1 Results
|1||301||AL-ATTIYAH NASSER (QAT)||01:12:50||–|
|2||305||TERRANOVA ORLANDO (ARG)||01:13:12||00:00:22|
|3||308||GORDON ROBBY (USA)||01:13:54||00:01:04|
|4||303||DE VILLIERS GINIEL (ZAF)||01:14:02||00:01:12|
|5||307||HOLOWCZYC KRZYSZTOF (POL)||01:14:06||00:01:16|
|6||316||SPATARO EMILIANO (ARG)||01:14:08||00:01:18|
|7||315||TEN BRINKE BERNHARD (NLD)||01:14:28||00:01:38|
|8||304||SAINZ CARLOS (ESP)||01:14:56||00:02:06|
|9||314||VAN LOON ERIK (NLD)||01:15:10||00:02:20|
|10||302||PETERHANSEL STEPHANE (FRA)||01:15:25||00:02:35|
For those in the top 10, the results of Stage 1 really don’t mean very much. All those guys can win. Except for staged or arranged finishes, typically positions are separated by minutes, even hours, so a few seconds of separation on Stage 1 make little difference.
I am an unabashed fan of Robby Gordon, but he has disappointed me every year. It is nice to be able to show a picture of Robby charging down a stage at the Dakar. I hope that he has more success in this year’s Dakar.
Robby Gordon Flying Down Stage 1
The photos of the streets of Buenos Aries show tremendous support and enthusiasm for the Dakar. I saw reports of 650,000 people attending the start and lining the streets to watch the Dakar vehicles get underway. It seems that the South Americans have truly embraced the Dakar Rally.
Sam Sunderland Heading Out To Win Stage 1 In Front Of Large Crowds
In the bike class, Sam Sunderland won the first stage of the 2015 Dakar by a mere five seconds over Paulo Goncalves. The favorite to win, Marc Coma, was in third position 1 minute and 12 seconds behind Sunderland. Similar to the Car Class, today’s stage did not really decide much.
2015 Dakar Rally Bike Class Results Stage 1
|1||6||SUNDERLAND SAM (GBR)||01:18:57||–|
|2||7||GONCALVES PAULO (PRT)||01:19:02||00:00:05|
|3||1||COMA MARC (ESP)||01:20:09||00:01:12|
|4||2||BARREDA BORT JOAN (ESP)||01:20:38||00:01:41|
|5||14||DUCLOS ALAIN (FRA)||01:21:05||00:02:08|
|6||12||ISRAEL ESQUERRE JEREMIAS (CHL)||01:21:13||00:02:16|
|7||9||CASTEU DAVID (FRA)||01:21:33||00:02:36|
|8||27||WALKNER MATTHIAS (AUT)||01:21:39||00:02:42|
|9||31||QUINTANILLA PABLO (CHL)||01:21:55||00:02:58|
|10||11||FARIA RUBEN (PRT)||01:21:59||00:03:02|
There are few Americans taking part in the Dakar and it is unfortunate to have to report that an American entrant in the motorcycle class, Tony Gera, was not cleared to take part in the Dakar Rally. It must be very disappointing for Tony and his supporters.
The first stage usually isn’t important, but unfortunately for Nani Roma, it decided much. For others, it’s game on!