After 10 stages across the dunes of Peru the best offroad racers in the world have emerged victorious at the 2019 Dakar Rally. It’s been a bumpy ride of over 5,500 kilometres at the planet’s toughest test of motorsports endurance.
In the bike category, Australian Toby Price (AUS) is celebrated a second Dakar win after a phenomenal ride. The Australian broke a bone in his wrist just before the trip to Peru, but somehow managed to smash through the pain barrier to take the win.
“The last six weeks have been a rollercoaster with my wrist injury and I never even thought I’d make it to the Rest Day. I just gritted my teeth and kept putting up with it. I’m glad I didn’t quit because the outcome has been well worth it.” – Toby Price
An unfortunate crash for Husqvarna biker Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) on stage 10 left the door open for Price’s KTM team-mates Matthias Walkner (AUT) and Sam Sunderland (GBR) to finish second and third respectively.
“The team spirit makes KTM so strong. Everybody knows what there is to do, it works perfectly together and it’s an amazing group.” – Matthias Walkner
It was a near flawless drive from Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (FRA) who burst into an early lead in the car race. Al-Attiyah’s sand racing expertise came to the fore on this Dakar route that saw the convoy plunged into the dunes. At the finish line in Pisco the Qatari ace was celebrating a third Dakar title, and his first with Toyota.
“There’s been a lot of people working on this car for a long time, always believing we could win the Dakar. I’m so proud of these guys right now.” – Nasser Al-Attiyah
The X-raid MINI JCW Rally Team celebrated a fine second place at the Dakar Rally for Joan Nani Roma and Alex Haro (both ESP) in the MINI John Cooper Works Rally. “Consistency” would be the best word to describe Roma’s performance at this Dakar. The first stage aside, he finished in the top five on every stage and has not been out of the top four in the overall standings since day two. His co-driver Haro also produced a great performance. He not only navigated their way safely through the desert but also proved able to take some punishment. He cracked his ribs a few days ago but the effects of the injury were hardly noticeable in the car.
“That was not bad for us – just one person in front of us. We are very happy,” said a satisfied Roma at the finish. “We had a good strategy throughout the whole race. We drove calmly and consistently. Maybe it was slightly too calm sometimes – but hindsight is a wonderful thing. Thank you to all the team – not just my mechanics and engineers, but everyone. I am really happy.”
Sébastien Loeb (FRA) seemed like the driver most likely to overtake Al-Attiyah. The nine-time WRC winner picked up four stage victories at this Dakar, but a troublesome waypoint undid his tilt for the title. Loeb and co-driver Daniel Elena (MON) finished third overall in their Peugeot 3008DKR, their second Dakar podium finish.
“I prefer to finish first rather than third, but it was a good fight.” – Sébastien Loeb
It was a tough debut for the X-raid MINI JCW Team despite boasting a superstar driving line-up of Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA), Carlos Sainz (ESP) and Cyril Despres (FRA). This trio came to Peru with 20 Dakar wins between them, but were unable to add another to their collective tally. Peterhansel crashed out on stage nine, while Despres and Sainz finished fifth and 13th respectively.
“I know how it feels to make a Dakar with no problems and it’s a pity it didn’t happen for us this time.” – Cyril Despres