Competitors and spectators alike will remember this 34th Dakar: the crowd at Mar del Plata, the immense sand dune in Iquique with its 32% slope towards the Pacific, and the tussle between Robby Gordon's spectacular Hummer and Stéphane Peterhansel's Mini, the latter having clinched his tenth win. Without forgetting, as regard motorcycles, the close fight between Marc Coma and Cyril Despres who secured his fourth victory.
'It's unanimously agreed that this Dakar was very difficult' affirms Thierry Bethys, one of the riders whose team is supported technically by Motul. "Certainly the most trying of all those I've experienced.' Bethys, highly regular, helped out his friends by providing his fuses during the tenth stage to assist David Casteu. On his Yamaha, he clinched a remarkable 21st place, while Alain Duclos rode his Aprilia to 58th place.
As for the other teams for which Motul is a technical partner, Toyota Auto Body secured a fine second place in the T2 standings, with the duo Jun Mitsuhashi and Alain Gehennec who kept first place for more than half the event. As for MD Rallye Sport, first place in the two-wheel drive standings, which was kept for a long time by Pascal Laroque and Pascal Thomasse in their yellow buggy, was unfortunately lost due to mechanical problems, but their 27th place in the overall standings remains a superb success! Meanwhile, after a few problems at the beginning of the event, Neo Raid Rally Team led its BMW X5 to 53rd place while, among the pack of quads, Uruguayan Sergio Lafuente made a thundering start and remained highly regular, clinching a splendid fifth place.
In any case, finishing the Dakar is a performance in itself: out of the 443 participants at the start, only 249 reached the finish, which underscores the difficulty of this legendary event. Nobody casts doubt on that of course.
Image : © Neo Raid Rally Team & © TB Racing