Three years after his last appearance, the most successful American driver in Dakar Rally history is making his return. Robby Gordon is preparing to take on the Minis and Toyotas in his quest to win edition 41. Gordon is also entering two other cars under his team banner for his countrymen Blade Hilderland and Cole Potts.
The Dakar is full of drivers and co-drivers with unlikely sporting backgrounds. This is the case for Gordon, who has experienced both literal and figurative twists and turns, and who has also experienced several lives on the event he has yet to conquer.
In his first Dakar in 2005, he immediately became the first American stage winner in the car category, in a Volkswagen Touareg. He soon positioned himself as a title contender, but never finished better than third, a feat Gordon accomplished in 2009.
The nemesis of the factory teams went on to become a formidable chaser of stage wins, a number he ran up to 10 in 2015, but never managed to finish in the top 10.
The following year, he entered two Hummers, but youngster Sheldon Creed retired and Gordon finished a disappointing 25th, which didn’t sit well with the American, who has sat out the past two editions because of his busy schedule in American racing.
But Gordon is back and ready to mix it up with the likes of Peterhansel, Al Attiyah, Sainz and Loeb in the dunes of Peru.
The American is not the type of driver to back away from a challenge, especially with the latest piece of rally-raid machinery from his race shop, a Textron Off-Road XX complying with the SCORE regulations.
“I am heading to Peru where I will aim for the general classification,” said Gordon, who will team up again with co-driver Kellon Walch, a former Dakar bike competitor. “There is no better partner than him to sit to my right during the rally.”
As confident as ever in his potential, the Team Speed boss will enter three vehicles on the Dakar Rally trail for the first time since 2010.
The other entries are for two of Gordon’s competitors from the Stadium Super Truck Series, Blade Hilderland and Cole Potts, who will make their Dakar debuts this coming January.