The awe-inspiring Ica Desert was the ideal stage for one of the most demanding races of the 2018 calendar, in which competitors faced some of the most dramatic and magnificent dunes in the world over 900 km of racing. With the 100% Peruvian Dakar fast approaching, the third edition of the Dakar Series featured many of the leading figures of this sport, as well as rising stars flying the flag for a new generation.
In the car category, Diego Weber (Toyota) won the T1.1 competition and the T1.2 went to Orlando Terranova (John Mini Cooper).
Casey Currie won in S×S and Juan Carlos Uribe did the same in the UTV Open category.
Stage 3 Video
Motorbikes: Paulo Gonçalves, the Ica Desert fox
With only 21 seconds separating the first four riders at the start of the morning, the outcome of stage 3 was uncertain and promised a fantastic fight for victory. Paulo Gonçalves brought his experience and amazing form to bear to take a deserved triumph in the motorbike category of the 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Desafío Inca.
The perseverance of the Monster Energy Honda Racing rider is paying off. On Saturday, he finished the day only 21 seconds behind Andrew Short, who he was leading the general classification. However, the Portuguese rider pushed hard on the last day and claimed his second Dakar Series event of the year, adding to his victory in the Desafío Ruta 40 just two weeks ago.
Second place went to Austrian Matthias Walkner (Red Bull KTM Factory), with American Andrew Short (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory) taking the bottom step of the podium.
Quads: “El Chavo” Salvatierra comes out on top
The quad category saw a remarkable triumph for Juan Carlos Salvatierra, who pushed all the right buttons to claim an important victory in his second race in what is a new category for him.
The 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Desafío Inca was the second race on a Barren Racer One quad for the Bolivian rider, who had previously shone in the motorbike category. However, he showed the great potential of his quad and won all three stages and the race.
Local riders Ignacio Flores and Emilio Chuy completed the podium.
Cars: Terranova and Weber stamp their authority in Ica
The three stages posed a great challenge for all competitors, but car drivers faced a particularly complex endeavour. However, both Argentinian Orlando Terranova (T1.1) and Peruvian Diego Weber (T1.2) had the skill to wrap up the race with victory in their respective classes.
The Argentinian was back in action with his John Mini Cooper X-Raid after several months out of business. His objective was to prepare for the 2019 Dakar. The Mitsubishi Motors Desafío Inca was the best moment to get back in the game, with a triumph that leaves good feelings for the great goal: the 100% Peruvian Dakar.
Weber, a multiple champion of the Peruvian rally, also capitalised on the competition and dreams of a near future as a protagonist in the next edition of the most extreme race in the world.
S×S: Currie dominates and Uribe stands out among South Americans
Casey Currie, an American who knows everything he has to do to fulfil his great sporting challenge in January 2019, will be one of the rookies of the next Dakar. The South Racing driver finished the Dakar Series with an important victory on Peruvian soil that brings him a step closer to his goal.
Fernando de Olazábal and Cristian Baumgart completed the S×S podium.
Juan Carlos Uribe put in a rock-solid performance in the UTV Open class, posting the fastest times on all three days of racing and showing how he feels at home on this type of terrain.
Leonardo Baronio and Diego Heibrunn escorted Uribe on the podium.
Trucks: Mission accomplished for Hector García
The only Peruvian competitor in the Truck category tackle three gruelling days of racing through the Ica Desert at the wheel of his juggernaut and gained valuable experience from the 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Desafío Inca.
“This was a very important test for the Dakar. We wanted to do nicely, test ourselves on the dunes and see how the bike is going, and it went really well to be honest. The race was very competitive. Almost all the Dakar favourites and factory teams were here, and that pushed the bar right up. Victory was up for grabs. I ended up coming on top, but there’s no question that I’ll have to keep working hard.”
“I’m delighted. We’ve been working very hard with the team. Unfortunately, I crashed out of my first official race in the Desafío Ruta 40 due to electrical problems. But everything fell into place this time round. It was an amazing race, the best training there is for the 2019 Dakar. We tackled really tough dunes and there was a lot of navigation to do.”
“It was a nice race. It’s a great place for our sport. It sets the scene for technical, tricky races where you have to find your rhythm. It was my first time in the car since the Dakar, so I had to ease back into my pace. It’s a gruelling race with loads of navigation. Just a few tweaks could make it a great classic.”
“Racing in the Desafío Inca in Peru was an incredible and rewarding experience. One of my goals this year is preparing for the Dakar properly, like all the other competitors from America. Tackling the same dunes, we’ll be facing in January provides valuable experience. It was an awesome event. Everyone did a great job.
Source and images: Rally-Raid Network