The 2015 Dakar Rally has come to an end. In the classes that I had been following, the cars and the bikes, I think that both winners are worthy champions. My work schedule prevented me from following the last few stages closely, but it appears that the late stage leaders were both able to manage their leads. For all of the other competitors, the Dakar Rally is one of those events where the statement “to finish is to win” is right on the money. Just to finish this event is very impressive.
2015 Dakar Finishers Medal
The top ten finishers in the Car Class are listed below.
2015 Dakar Rally Car Class – Overall Standings
|1||AL-ATTIYAH (QAT)BAUMEL (FRA)||MINI||40:32:25||–||00:02:00|
|2||DE VILLIERS (ZAF)VON ZITZEWITZ (DEU)||TOYOTA||41:07:59||00:35:34||–|
|3||HOLOWCZYC (POL)PANSERI (FRA)||MINI||42:04:26||01:32:01||–|
|4||VAN LOON (NLD)ROSEGAAR (NLD)||MINI||43:34:17||03:01:52||00:40:00|
|5||VASILYEV (RUS)ZHILTSOV (RUS)||MINI||43:45:06||03:12:41||–|
|6||LAVIEILLE (FRA)MAIMON (FRA)||TOYOTA||43:48:23||03:15:58||–|
|7||TEN BRINKE (NLD)COLSOUL (BEL)||TOYOTA||44:14:27||03:42:02||–|
|8||SOUSA (PRT)FIUZA (PRT)||MITSUBISHI||44:17:24||03:44:59||00:40:00|
|9||RAKHIMBAYEV (KAZ)NIKOLAEV (RUS)||MINI||44:41:09||04:08:44||00:00:30|
|10||CHABOT (FRA)PILLOT (FRA)||SMG||45:15:01||04:42:36||–|
Obviously the Mini team did very well, but Toyota has shown some strength as well. The Peugeot team had some bad luck and their true capability was not displayed.
I was very much impressed by Nasser Al-Attiyah this year. He displayed an emotional control and sense of purpose to win the overall Dakar Rally beyond what I had expected. Given how fast he can drive a car, plus this new maturity, I think that he can very well win the Dakar again.
Other interesting finishes were Peterhansel in the Peugeot in 11th, stage winner Terranova in 18th, and the always fast, but always troubled, American Robby Gordon in 19th. Former Bike Class winner, Cyril Despres, finished 34th in a Peugeot.
The Canadian team of Benasdoun/Beaule finished a very credible 32nd. Well done guys!
In the Bike Class the pre-event favorite, Marc Coma, was the winner. He was part of a powerful KTM team that filled 7 of the 8 top finishers. The Honda team was able to challenge near the top of the field, but some mechanical issues held them back. I think that they will be back better than ever next year, although some of their top engineers might be distracted by the Honda Formula 1 effort.
Marc Coma After Winning The Bike Class
The final top ten overall standings in the Bike Class are presented below.
2015 Dakar Rally Bike Class – Final Overall Standings
|9||SANZ PLA-GIRIBERT (ESP)||HONDA||48:28:10||02:24:21||–|
Other top competitors finished further back; Rodrigues in 13th and Barreda in 17th position, both on Hondas. The Honda rider, Laia Sanz, became the highest finishing woman in the bike class in the history of the Dakar when she finished 9th.
This year’s Dakar Rally was very interesting and I expect that next year it will be even more competitive as I believe that the non-winning teams in both the bike and car classes will be better.