19 Jan 2014


Graham King rounds up and reviews the 2014 Dakar Rally

Week 2 of the Dakar from Salta, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile via the Andes mountains and the Atacama desert, might have been a two horse race, but there was still plenty of drama.

Overall leader after Stage 6: Nani Roma (Mini) Read the Rest Day Update here

Week 2 stage winners:

Stage 7: Carlos Sainz (SMG)
Stage 8: Nasser Al-Attiyah (Mini)
Stage 9: Stephane Peterhansel (Mini)
Stage 10: Al-Attiyah
Stage 11: Orlando Terranova (Mini)
Stage 12: Peterhansel
Stage 13: Giniel de Villiers (Toyota)

Week 2 of the 2014 Dakar Rally quickly became a battle of two Minis between long-time leader Nani Roma and 11-time event winner Stephane Peterhansel.

Peterhansel had battled through a litany of problems during the first week to lie third overall on the rest day. He resumed his fight back on Stage 7, displacing fellow X-Raid driver Orlando Terranova from second. He gradually chipped away at Roma's lead as the week wore on, closing to just 2mins 15secs at the end of Stage 10.

At that point X-Raid boss Sven Quandt decided that Roma's and Peterhansel's pace was too fast and, not wanting to risk a clean-sweep of the podium now that Nasser Al-Attiyah had pushed his way into third, ordered his drivers to hold station.

Both Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah did as they were told on Stage 11, falling back from Roma but the plan went out of the window on Stage 12. Peterhansel took the stage win from Al-Attiyah and Roma, the top three seperated by less than six minutes. That put Peterhansel in lead by a scant 26 seconds. After thousands of kilometers of on-the-limit driving, the rally would go down to the wire.

Carlos Sainz's testing event came to an end on Stage 10. Various issues had stymied the two-time World Rally Champion's campaign during week one, leaving him sixth overall. He took his second stage win on Stage 7, not that it got him back into the top five. He finally crashed out three days later on a road section in Stage 10. Sainz and co-driver Timo Gottschalk were okay, the car was not.

But back to the lead battle on Stage 13. Giniel de Villiers took his only win of the rally from Krzysztof Holowczyc on the short, 157km run to the finish at Valparaiso by just 23 seconds. Al-Attiyah was safe in third overall so his deficit of 4mins 51secs to fourth-placed de Villiers didn't matter. So all eyes were on Roma and Peterhansel. In the final reckoning on a close run stage, Peterhansel dropped just over six minutes to Roma on Stage 13, making Roma the 2014 Dakar champion.

Whether or not Peterhansel gave Roma the win will be endlessly debated. But the records will show that Roma, bike category winner in 2004, is now a two-time Dakar champion. Which will be all he really cares about.

Top 10 runners after Stage 13:

1st Nani Roma/Michel Perin
Monster Energy X-Raid Team Mini ALL4 Racing - 50h44m58s

2nd Stephane Peterhansel/Jean Paul Cottret
Monster Energy X-Raid Team Mini ALL4 Racing - +5m38s

3rd Nasser Al-Attiyah/Lucas Cruz
Qatar X-Raid Racing Team Mini ALL4 Racing - +56m52s

4th Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz
Imperial Toyota Hilux - +1h19m07s

5th Orlando Terranova/Paulo Fiuza
Monster Energy X-Raid Team Mini ALL4 Racing - +1h27m44s

6th Krzysztof Holowczyc/Konstantin Zhiltsov
Monster Energy X-Raid Team Mini ALL4 Racing - +3h55m42s

7th Marek Dabrowski/Jacek Czachor
Orlen Team Toyota Hilux - +5h34m25s

8th Christian Lavieille/Jean-Pierre Garcin
Haval Rally Team Haval H8 - +5h35m50s

9th Martin Kaczmarski/Filipe Palmeiro
Lotto X-Raid Team Mini ALL4 Racing - +6h58m12s

10th Vladimir Vasilyev/Vitaliy Yevtyekhov
X-Raid Team Mini ALL4 Racing - +6h59m34s