DAKAR MOTORSPORT NEWS

Only the best and bravest need apply for the 2018 Dakar Rally

Get onboard with the Red Bull athletes getting ready to tackle the world’s toughest race with this fast paced animation.The 2018 Dakar Rally roars into life in January and only the most intrepid offroad racers have signed up for the challenge.

Across all four categories there’s a courageous mix of past champions and rally-raid rookies preparing to push themselves to the limit in South America.

 

Cars

Returning car race champions Team Peugeot Total will once again bring their D-ream Team of driving talent. Their fleet of four Peugeot 3008DKR Maxis will be in the hands of Stéphane Peterhansel (13-time Dakar winner), Carlos Sainz  (one Dakar win), Cyril Despres (five Dakar bike titles) and Sébastien Loeb (nine-time WRC winner).

Since returning to the Dakar in 2015 after an absence of 25 years Peugeot have wasted no time in re-establishing themselves as the team to beat. Peterhansel has delivered back-to-back wins for Team Peugeot Total at the past two editions and was joined on the podium earlier this year by Loeb and Despres as the French outfit recorded a 1-2-3 result.

Among the drivers looking to break Peugeot’s dominance in the car category is former Dakar winner Giniel De Villiers, now flying the flag for the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team. He’s been testing the Toyota Hilux in extreme conditions throughout the year in an effort to get ahead of his rivals.

Further competition in the car race will come from a pair of MINI drivers who are out to make their mark in rally-raid. Kuba has transferred to cars from bikes in recent years while rookie Bryce Menzies arrives from American Baja racing.

Bike

Taking on the Dakar’s punishing two-week schedule for the first time in 2018 will be the all-new KTM 450 Rally. The hopes of the Red Bull KTM Factory Team securing their 17th consecutive Dakar win are resting on this redesigned bike and the four riders taking the saddle. Both Sam Sunderland and Toby Price already know what it takes to win the Dakar, while Matthias Walkner and Antoine Méo are chasing their first titles.

Among those challenging this foursome will be Stefan Svitko of the Slovnaft Team, who proved he has what it takes with a runners-up finish in 2016. Expect the biggest cheers in La Paz to be reserved for Bolivia’s Daniel and Walter Nosiglia while millions in India will be tracking the progress of CS Santosh.

Trucks and quads

Gunning for victory in the truck division will be Team Kamaz Master as the serial winners from Russia ship over to South America. The Blue Armada will be piloted by Eduard Nikolaev (two-time Dakar winner), Ayrat Mardeev (one Dakar title), Dmitry Sotnikov and Anton Shibalov as the reigning champions send four trucks into battle in 2018.

Then there’s Ignacio Casale, who’ll be going for his second Dakar Rally win in the quad category after reigning supreme in 2014. The Chilean came second in the quad race in 2017, so now he’ll be on the charge to go one better in Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.