11 Jan 2014


There was a script for this year's Dakar Rally, but after six stages and a day or more of flat-out driving, no-one seems to have read it. The event has thrown up many surprises between Rosario and Salta in Argentina, but seems to have settled down at the mid-point. 

Truck category stage winners

Stage 1: Ayrat Mardeev (Kamaz) Stage 4: de Rooy
Stage 2: Gerard de Rooy (Iveco) Stage 5: Dmitry Sotnikov (Kamaz)
Stage 3: Andrey Karginov (Kamaz) Stage 6: Pieter Versluis (MAN)

Of all the categories in the Dakar, the trucks are following the script most closely. Gerard de Rooy took the overall lead after a strong win on Stage 2 and has stayed there ever since, helped by another win on Stage 4.

As expected, de Rooy's main competition has come from the Kamaz team, three of its drivers picking up a stage win each. Going into the rest day, Andrey Karginov lies second overall, with Eduard Nikolaev third, despite not winning a stage.

The only man to break the Iveco/Kamaz hegemony so far is Pieter Versluis, who took a surprise win on Stage 6 in a MAN having been well out of contention all week. His winning margin of just over a minute did little to reduce his seven hour deficit, though.

De Rooy holds a slim buffer of just under half an half going into week two. He had a similar margin this time last year when his turbo blew. He won't be taking anything for granted.

Top 5 runners after Stage 6

1. Gerard de Rooy - Team De Rooy Iveco Torpedo - 23h14m27s
2. Andrey Karginov - Kamaz Master Kamaz 4326 - +29m05s
3. Eduard Nikolaev - Kamaz Master Kamaz 4326 - +1h07m42s
4. Dmitry Sotnikov - Kamaz Master Kamaz 4326 - +1h22m35s
5. Hans Stacey - Team De Rooy Iveco Trakker - +1h34m44s

Quad category stage winners

Stage 1: Ignacio Casale (Yamaha) Stage 4: Casale
Stage 2: Marcos Patronelli (Yamaha) Stage 5: Sergio Lafuente (Yamaha)
Stage 3: Rafal Sonik (Yamaha) Stage 6: Sonik

Perhaps the biggest shock in the entire event so far came from the quad category on Stage 3. Pre-rally favourite Marcos Patronelli took the overall lead on Stage 2, but then dramatically crashed out the next day, being forced to bail off his machine before it went down a deep ravine.

In Patronelli's absence, stage winners Ignacio Casale, Rafal Sonik and Sergio Lafuente have been disputing the lead, pulling a very long way ahead of the everyone else in the process.

Having reached the top five on Stage 3, Lafuente now leads the rally with Sonik second and Casale third. Separated by only 24 minutes, the quads will have the closest battle for the lead next week.

Top 5 runners after Stage 6

1. Sergio Lafuente - Uruguay Team Yamaha Raptor - 29h22m20s
2. Rafal Sonik - Sonik Team Yamaha Raptor - +22m18s
3. Ignacio Casale - Tamarugal XC Yamaha Raptor - +24m04s
4. Sebastian Husseini - Maxxis Honda TRX - +3h18m54s
5. Mohammed Abu-Issa - Maxxis Honda TRX - +5h27m02s