40TH DAKAR RALLY
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