2019 Dakar Rally preview - 100% Peru
The 41st edition of Dakar Rally, that will take place from January 7 to January 17 in South America, would be a unique event in the history of the world’s toughest rally-raid race because the race will visit only one country – Peru.
The motto of the race is ‘100% Peru’ and it says all about a route of the race – all five thousand kilometers will be staged in Peru, with start and a finish line in the Peruvian capital Lima. The time will be measured on ten special stages with about three thousand competitive kilometers.
More than 330 vehicles will appear on the starting grid, divided into five categories. The motorbike riders are forming the biggest field, with 137 names on the starting list, led by last year’s winner, the 33-year-old Austrian Mathias Walkner on the #1 KTM of KTM Factory Racing Team.
The Spanish rally legend Carlos Sainz, the last year’s winner in a car category, will carry the number 300 on his Mini John Cooper Works Buggy. Following the withdrawal of Peugeot from Dakar Rally, three members of Peugeot’s Dream Team moved to X-Raid Team – Carlos Sainz, Stephane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres. The fourth member of the squad, Sebastien Loeb, will continue to drive a Peugeot 3008 DKR but as a privateer, sponsored by Red Bull and Bardahl.
Some other world-known racers at the Peruvian edition of Dakar Rally will be Jakub Przygonski, Martin Prokop, Nani Roma, Bernhard Ten Brinke, Orlando Terranova, Yazeed Al Rajhi, Nicholas Fuchs or Robby Gordon.
The Side by Side (SxS) category has set a new record with three times as many participants as in 2018. Thirty crews will compete for a victory in a category of light-cars. The little buggies with reduced displacement made their debut ten years ago, the SxS class was recognized two years ago and now the popularity is growing rapidly.
There will be 26 solo drivers on quads at the starting line, but also 41 three-man crews in the truck category.
After an opening ceremony on Sunday, January 6, the first competitive stage will take place between Lima and Pisco on Monday, January 7. Ten days later, the checkered flag will wait for competitors in Lima.