40TH DAKAR RALLY

Ultimate Diesel Builder's Guide - - Reporting From Deriot -

2018 marked the 40th run­ning of the Dakar Rally, which was con­tested in South Amer­ica once again. The event started in Lima, Peru, on Jan­uary 5, 2018, run­ning through Peru, Bo­livia and Ar­gentina be­fore fin­ish­ing in Cor­doba, Ar­gentina, on Jan­uary 19. The 2017 win­ning Peu­geot team brought com­pletely new 3008 DKR MAXI 2WD long-travel sus­pen­sion bug­gies to the event this year rather than com­pete with last year’s win­ning de­sign, even though the team had al­ready an­nounced that 2018 would be their last year of com­pe­ti­tion with the fac­tory-backed Peu­geot team.

The big risk of bring­ing a new race ve­hi­cle to the Dakar paid off for the turbo-diesel pow­ered squad, net­ting seven stage wins in­clud­ing podium sweeps on stage two and four. Driv­ers for the French team ran ex­tremely well, hold­ing the over­all lead for nearly the en­tire rally, but costly mis­takes by three of the four team mem­bers left them out of the run­ning for the over­all. Vet­eran Car­los Sainz ran a smooth and trou­ble-free race, fin­ish­ing 43 min­utes and 40 sec­onds ahead of the 4WD gas-pow­ered Toy­ota Hilux of Nasser Al-at­tiyah in what was com­monly re­ferred to as one of the most dif­fi­cult Dakars since be­ing moved from Africa sev­eral years ago.

In the Truck cat­e­gory, Ed­uard Niko­laev won his third Dakar Rally as a driver in his Ka­maz 4326. He won by 3 hours, 57 min­utes and 17 sec­onds with three stage wins as he dom­i­nated the com­pe­ti­tion in the class. Niko­laev also won the 2017 edi­tion, mak­ing this a back-to-back vic­tory for the Ka­maz team and the Rus­sian driver, who will be largely fa­vored to three­p­eat in 2019.

Ru­mors have been go­ing around that reg­u­la­tions may be put into place for fu­ture edi­tions of the Dakar that would no longer al­low the 2WD long-travel bug­gies in the Cars class as well as a po­ten­tial shift away from turbo-diesel engines. Hope­fully this will not be the case and we will be able to see turbo-diesel dom­i­nance once again in 2019. But with the Peu­geot Team leav­ing the sport, which team will come to the front? Mini has run both 2WD and 4WD diesel-pow­ered cars in re­cent years so hope­fully the team will re­gain its cham­pi­onship-win­ning form and power to the front of the pack with their diesels in 2019. For more in­for­ma­tion and to see the full re­sults, point your browser to Dakar.com. UDBG

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