• Baja TT Rota do Douro


    26 e 27 de Setembro de 2014
  • Baja TT Idanha-a-Nova


    12 e 13 de Setembro de 2014
  • Baja TT Oleiros / Proença / Mação


    27 e 28 de Junho de 2014
  • Baja Terras de Alcoutim


    31 de Maio e 1 de Junho de 2014
  • Vinhos Ervideira Rali TT


    25 e 26 de Abril de 2014

domingo, 18 de janeiro de 2015

Team HRC vai voltar!


Seven stage victories, leaders for half the rally, overall runner-up place for Paulo Gonçalves and ninth spot for Laia Sanz, add up to a more-than-positive final report-card for Honda and Team HRC at the Rally Dakar 2015. The team will be back next year to win.

 Just one day after the end of the Rally Dakar 2015 and Team HRC already have their sights on the 2016 edition. Important conclusions drawn from this year’s event will form the backbone of work to be carried out in preparation for Dakar 2016.

 After an almost twenty-five year official absence from the race, Team HRC have retaken the world’s most gruelling rally by storm, scoring the greatest number of stage victories. The ‘all for one’ work ethic, the ability to overcome every type of adversity, and the never-say-die approach, make it the team to be reckoned with.

 It was a genuine challenge for the riders and the team responded accordingly with great competitiveness from both riders and machines. The Honda CRF450 RALLY passes the test with flying colours, with four of the five bikes making it to Buenos Aires over every type of possible terrain, at sea-level or at over 4,000 metres altitude, on route through Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. 

Joan Barreda proved to be an unyielding leader throughout the first week of rally and only a highly-controversial decision to race in perilous conditions robbed the Spaniard of final victory. Barreda collected more stages than any other in the Dakar 2015 and showed an unparallel level of competitiveness, hunger for speed, dexterity at navigation, sharp strategy, and above all leadership for Team HRC.

 Paulo Gonçalves, similarly to Barreda, was in the running against a tough rival. The Portuguese ace finished as an exceptional runner-up not far off the eventual overall winner in Buenos Aires. Likewise, Hélder Rodrigues, two-time stage winner, and Jeremías Israel, put in fine unselfish performances and were always on hand whenever the team was in need.

 A brilliant Laia Sanz shone throughout, surpassing all her own objectives and setting precedents by finishing higher than any other female in the entire history of the Dakar as she rubbed shoulders with the elite of the cross-country rally competition.

 See you in the Dakar 2016!


Martino Bianchi (Team HRC General Manager): The final evaluation is, of course, good. We are on the podium, and we haven’t been on there for many years, so we deserve it. We have proved that we are very close to being the top in this race. We’ve shown everyone the potential of this project. The bike is very fast and the team is working very well, and our riders are very well-prepared to be able to win this it. We had a few unlucky situations, but we won seven out of thirteen stages and we won these with three different riders. So this is also something important, that we have shown our potential. I wish to thank everyone for the great work that they have done so far, and let’s do a bit of fine-tuning to reach the target in the next edition of the Dakar.

  Martino Bianchi (Team HRC General Manager: I’m pleased with the results, but a bit disappointed because we had a few setbacks during the race. Fortunately, the team was able to work together in those moments as if it were one rider. Paulo finished second and Laia ninth and that’s really good. The bike’s performance was better than last year’s, and we have discovered some issues that we will be able to work on before next year, and we will be back at the Dakar with the highest expectations.

  Wolfgang Fischer (Team HRC Team Manager): So the 2015 Dakar is over, with a smile in one eye and a tear in the other. Of course, we didn’t achieve our main target to win the race. We tried everything. We had the tools for it. We had the team for it. We had the bike, but in the end it wasn’t the race for us to make it all happen. On the other hand, we can be really happy to have the second place. Achieving that with Paulo Goncalves is really the spirit of the team. It shows the quality of the team and its teamwork together, and we are really proud of this. Now we can build a really strong team, and are now looking forward to coming back at the next one even stronger. Next time we will do it in the second week, the way we did in the first week. Thanks to everybody in the team, and thanks for the great cooperation and for the strong belief in our commitments.

Paulo Gonçalves termina Dakar em segundo. Impressionante prestação de Laia Sanz

The Dakar 2015 ends after circling the loop and ending up back in Buenos Aires a fortnight later, bringing new successes for Team HRC. Paulo Goncalves finishes the world’s toughest rally in second place, while Laia Sanz breaks new ground with an unprecedented ninth place overall finish.

 After picking up the world championship runner-up prize last October at the Morocco Rally, Portuguese ace Paulo Goncalves has once again pulled off another achievement for Team HRC. It was a display of grit, tireless effort, consistency and teamwork, which finally brought the rider’s Rally Dakar 2015 adventure to a close as runner-up in the final rankings.

 Paulo Goncalves very nearly pulled it off in the world’s greatest rally challenge too. The rider had collected a total of 17 minutes of penalties, and eventually finished just 16’53” behind the eventual race winner Marc Coma.

 Another of the big Team HRC success stories from this Dakar has been the astonishing ninth-place finish for a brilliant Laia Sanz. The Spaniard claims the best ever final position in the race’s female category. Besides showing excellent riding dexterity and a true command of navigation aboard the Honda CRF450 RALLY, the athlete proved herself by finishing several of the special timed stages up among the top ten riders.

 Noteworthy too, was the overall performance of Joan Barreda, with four stage victories, and always the man to beat at this Dakar 2015. The Castellon rider was unstoppable at the head of the race until stage eight, when extreme weather conditions at the Uyuni salt flats put an end to his chances of a win in the campaign. Barreda’s final overall ranking was an unjust 17th.

 Helder Rodrigues has, likewise, been a cornerstone of the Team. In addition to two stage victories, Hélder finished in 12th place on the final leaderboard.

 Honda South America Rally Team close their crusade after a valiant effort that sees Javier Pizzolito and Jean Azevedo take 19thand 22ndrespectively. HSA Rally Team offered crucial support to the riders of Team HRC throughout the event.

 The rally came to an end in Baradero, with what had been planned as a 174 kilometre special, reduced by 73 kilometres due to the conditions, before the final connection phase brought the entourage into Buenos Aires, where the final ceremonial podium was held in Tecnopolis.

Paulo Gonçalves: I think the whole team deserves this result, especially after all the hard work that they have done. All that’s needed now is to go one small step further and win the rally. We are well-prepared and on the right track. I’m pleased with the result, and I want to thank the whole team, but most especially my team-mates Joan, Hélder and Jere, who were there to help me out in the most delicate moments. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be on the podium here in Dakar.

MINI All4 Racing vence o quarto Dakar consecutivo com Nasser Al-Attiyah

- The desert racer secures its fourth consecutive win. 

- Qatar Rally Team wins courtesy of Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel 

The MINI ALL4 Racing is and remains the yardstick in the Dakar Rally. The vehicle designed and built by X-raid celebrated its fourth consecutive win in the legendary event, this year. Today, Nasser Al-Attiyah, representing the Qatar Rally Team, follows the footsteps of Stéphane Peterhansel and Nani Roma by crossing the podium as the winner. In addition, a total of four MINI ALL4 Racing vehicles secured top-five positions, six made it to the top 10 and eight to the top 20. Third place, behind the Toyota of Giniel de Villiers, was secured by the Monster Energy Rally Raid Team pairing Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL) / Xavier Panseri (FRA). Right behind them, the Dutchmen Erik van Loon / Wouter Rosegaar (Van Loon Racing) and the Russians Vladimir Vasilyev and Konstantin Zhiltsov in the VRT-MINI ALL4 Racing finished fourths and fifths respectively.

 The 2015 Dakar winners, Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel, celebrated a total of five of the possible 13 stage wins. The driver from Qatar took the lead as early as on day two and defended it throughout the event. The Skeet Shooting Bronze Medallist in the London Olympics knew exactly when to push and when to back off, this year. As a result, he arrived in every bivouac with an undamaged MINI ALL4 Racing. “I’m virtually over the moon and just want to enjoy this day,” beamed Al-Attiyah. “I’ve got a lot of Dakar experience under my belt, in the meantime, and therefore I only and fully focused on the respective day. And this approach was the key to our success. If you had a bad day you just have to forget it to not lose your focus.”

 After several difficult years, Monster Energy Rally Raid Team driver Holowczyc finally made it to the Dakar podium, this year. In August, he opted for cooperating with a new navigator: it was the first Dakar for Xavier Panseri but the Frenchman has got several WRC successes under his belt. In late August, in the Baja Poland, the pairing made its first and only joint appearance to date and only in Buenos Aires they were back in the cockpit of the MINI ALL4 Racing. Nonetheless, their collaboration worked well right from the start and was rewarded with a podium. “I’m so happy, I just can’t find the words to describe how I feel,” beamed Holowczyc. “After 10 years in the Dakar I finally made it to the podium.”

 Van Loon and Rosegaar mainly convinced with their consistency, this year. Seven times, the Dutch pairing secured a top-10 result and in the end, this consistency resulted in fourth place. “What a fantastic result,” said Van Loon. “We came here to try to secure a top-10 result and now, we finished fourth. That’s a result I really didn’t expect. This Dakar was rather tough, particularly during the first days. But to be honest, it just can’t be tough enough, for me.”

 Vasilyev and Zhiltsov also succeeded in shining several times, this year, with the win in stage five, from Copiapo to Antofagasta, representing the highlight for them. Navigator Zhiltsov had detected a legal shortcut and so, the MINI ALL4 Racing could take the lead. And in the penultimate stage, from Termas de Rio Hondo to Rosario, the Russians came second. “We had a great rally,” Zhiltsov said beaming. “Yes, there were things that didn’t run perfectly but you can call our 2015 Dakar nearly perfect, nevertheless. Having finished fifth is just great.”

Sven Quandt, CEO X-raid GmbH: The MINI ALL4 Racing once again succeeded in convincing to the max. Four MINI racers in the top five is another sensational result. With our experience and our good preparation we prevailed against our really strong competitors. In addition, we also clinched XY of 13 possible stage wins. You couldn’t expect to achieve far more, in a Dakar. Nasser did everything the right way, this year, and used his own wits. That’s the approach that gave him the win.

RUBEN FARIA ALCANÇA SEXTO POSTO NO DAKAR 2015

Terminou ontem em Buenos Aires a edição 2015 do Dakar. Após duas intensas e duras semanas de competição nas pistas da Argentina, Chile e Bolivia os 78 pilotos que resistiram a uma prova bastante dura foram recebidos em ambiente de festa na capital argentina. No dia de despedida as fortes chuvas que se abateram na região da derradeira especial obrigaram a que esta fosse encurtada pois o piso enlameado era demasiado perigoso para os pilotos de todas as categorias e assim terminou o Dakar um pouco mais cedo que o previsto.

 Ruben Faria fechou esta sua participação num brilhante sexto posto, resultado muito positivo especialmente tendo em conta que o piloto da KTM chegou à prova ainda em recuperação de duas intervenções cirúrgicas à clavícula direita fracturada no dia 1 de Novembro.

‘É uma emoção enorme estar no final depois de ter abandonado no terceiro dia no ano passado. A questão de saber se conseguiria terminar manteve-se durante quase todo o ano e estar aqui em Buenos Aires no final de mais um Dakar é uma emoção imensa. O Dakar correu muito bem com excepção a um ou dois dias no Chile em que senti maiores dificuldades.’

 Na derradeira especial deste Dakar, que consagrou os vencedores da prova nas suas diversas categorias, Ruben Faria foi o 16º mais rápido, garantindo assim a sexta posição da classificação geral, o segundo melhor entre os portugueses, após uma prova onde mais uma vez a equipa do piloto da Olhão garantiu a vitória, a 14ª consecutiva para a KTM.

‘Correu tudo muito bem a equipa conseguiu mais uma vitória, o Marc fez um excelente trabalho e toda a equipa trabalhou para se conseguir o resultado desejado. Quero aproveitar também para felicitar o Paulo Gonçalves, que foi um piloto muito forte e um grande adversário do Marc. Acho que estamos todos de parabéns e agora...venha o Dakar 2016.’ 

Terminou assim de forma perfeita mais uma participação de Ruben Faria na mais importante prova do TT mundial, na qual foi segundo classificado em 2013. Após o regresso a Portugal o piloto dará continuidade à recuperação definitiva da lesão na clavícula para estar na sua melhor forma aquando do arranque de mais uma edição do campeonato do mundo Cross-Country e Rallies onde estará presente com a equipa austríaca.

Villagra e Memi alcançam o objectivo e levam a Ford Ranger ao final do Dakar

• Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah claims second Dakar Rally win on shortened final stage 

 • 68 of the original 136 starters make it to the fanfare Dakar finish in Buenos Aires 

The Argentine crew of Federico Villagra and Andrés Memi achieved their goal of reaching the finish of the punishing Dakar Rally in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

 The YPF Competicion Ford Ranger duo rounded off 13 days of intense competition across some of the most demanding desert, mountainous and rocky lowland terrain on the planet to guide their car to the ceremonial finish in 27th overall.

 A fortnight of racing that had got off to the worst possible start, when they broke a prop shaft on the very first special stage between Buenos Aires and Villa Carlos Paz and plummeted to the foot of the general classification, ended on a high note with several strong stage performances and a sterling climb back through the field.

 Their determination, coupled with hard work from the entire team from South Racing and Neil Woolridge Motorsport, ensured that Villagra finished the rally for the second year in succession and continued the Ford Ranger’s consistent Dakar record of finishing on each the two occasions it has been entered. Only 68 of the original 136 starters made it to the finish ramp in Buenos Aires.

“The last few special were really fun and a chance to show the strengths of the Ford Ranger and make a move up the leader board,” said Villagra. “Yesterday, we started 26th and quickly caught Cyril Despres ahead of us. He did not let us through and we were stuck behind him for the entire stage, despite using the Sentinel repeatedly. But we made it to Rosario and today was a case of taking no risks and cruising to the finish in awful weather conditions.”

 South Racing looked after Villagra’s on-event logistics and day-to-day management under the directorship of Scott Abraham and his team. The Ford Ranger was prepared and developed in South Africa by Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM).

  “It was certainly a very tough Dakar, but the whole team pulled through until the end and did not give up,” said Abraham. “Federico and Andrés did an amazing job bringing the Ranger home every day. I would like to thank the entire team who worked tirelessly and they have made us proud.

“YPF, Ford, Rudy Project, OMP and Gold Nutrition have been great and, without their support, it would not have been possible. Lastly, I would like to thank the team from NWM, who designed and built a great Ranger.”

 The final 174km sprint through Argentina to the finish used a special stage between the city of San Nicolás de los Arroyos and Baradero in the province of Buenos Aires. Villagra started the special in 23rd on the road, but heavy rain had already forced race officials to shorten the bike stage to just 101km and the decision was taken to stop the car stage at PC1, after just 34km. The Argentine stayed clear of trouble and recorded the 25th quickest time to confirm the team’s goal of finishing the Dakar Rally.

 Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah won the Dakar Rally in 2011 and began the final stage with a comfortable advantage of 35min 39sec over Giniel de Villiers. The Qatari had controlled the race from the start and, save for a penalty for speeding on the first day, had led from the first stage. He eventually reached the end of the shortened stage in sixth position to claim a second Dakar win by the margin of 35min 34sec. American Robbie Gordon clinched the day’s stage.

 In addition to Argentine energy company YPF, Villagra’s Dakar programme was supported by suspension and OEM parts company Fric Rot, Brenson (Dealer Ford), Piamontesa and construction company Natania. OMP, Michelin, Rudy Project and Gold Nutrition provided technical assistance.

  2015 Dakar Rally – final positions

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 40hr 32min 25sec
2. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota Hilux 41hr 07min 59sec
 3. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 42hr 04min 26sec
4. Erik van Loon (NLD)/Wouter Roesegar (NLD) Mini All4 Racing 42hr 04min 26sec
5. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) Mini All4 Racing 43hr 45min 06sec
27. Federico Villagra (ARG)/Andrés Memi (ARG) Ford Ranger 53hr 49min 01sec

De Villiers foi o melhor piloto da Toyota e termina Dakar em segundo

· Overdrive’s Issabayev, Dabrowski and Vanagas end rally in 17th, 23rd and 24th 

· Toyota Imperial’s Poulter seals 16th; Bensadoun 32nd and Jerie in 42nd 

· Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah claims second Dakar victory; last stage win for Gordon 

Overdrive Racing and Hallspeed enjoyed another demanding and exciting Dakar Rally and managed to bring three Toyota Hiluxes to the finish of the world’s most difficult cross-country rally in second, sixth and seventh overall.

 Nine of the entire operation’s 12 Toyotas reached the finish in Buenos Aires, with South African driver Giniel De Villiers and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz leading the way in second position with the first of two Toyota Imperial South Africa Hiluxes.

 De Villiers has now finished second on two occasions and third and fourth in his four Dakar appearances with the Toyota team and is the most consistent of any of the current crop of drivers. Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah claimed his second Dakar victory by the margin of 35min 34sec, while American Robbie Gordon won the final stage.

  “For us, the navigational mistake a few days ago cost us the win and we just decided to drive through the last couple of stages. There was no point in taking risks,” said De Villiers. “It’s a great relief to make it to Buenos Aires.” 

Frenchman Christian Lavieille and his 2002 Dakar Rally-winning co-driver Pascal Maimon slipped from fifth to sixth overall on the penultimate special stage and trailed Russian Vladimir Vasilyev by just under three minutes at the start of the final 174km sprint from San Nicolás de los Arroyos to a finish in Baradero.

 Heavy rain had forced race officials to stop the motorcycle and quad stage at PC2, after 101km, and the decision was taken to call a halt to the car special at PC1, after just 34km. Lavieille recorded the 13th quickest time and finished the rally in sixth place.

 Dutchman Bernhard Ten Brinke and Belgian co-driver Tom Colsoul continued to improve as the race progressed and actually led the penultimate stage after 120km, before finishing the special in fifth place. They reached Buenos Aires in seventh overall.

 Kazakh Bauyrzhan Issabayev and Russian team-mate Vladimir Demyanenko produced an impressive and consistent display of driving to reach the finish in 17th overall in their Overdrive Racing Toyota.

 Leeroy Poulter and fellow South African co-driver Robert Howie drove the second Toyota Imperial car. Early rally problems cost them the chance to challenge for a top 10 finish, but Poulter dug deep during the second week and climbed back to finish 16th, even setting the second quickest time on the last stage to overhaul Overdrive’s Issabayev.

 Pole Marek Dabrowski and Dubai-based British navigator Mark Powell joined together in unfortunate and tragic circumstances before the rally had even started, but the pair bonded well and overcame the loss of several hours with axle and drive shaft problems to bring the Team Orlen Toyota Hilux home in 23rd, despite losing 20 minutes on the final stage.

 Lithuanian Benediktas Vanagas and his Belarussian navigator Andrei Rudnitski produced their best ever Dakar display; the highlight being the fourth quickest time on stage 11. They reached the podium in Buenos Aires in 24th.

 The French-Canadian duo of David Bensadoun and Patrick Beaulé rolled their Overdrive Toyota Hilux early in the rally, but recovered strongly from that setback and continued to improve as the event progressed. They were classified in 32nd at the finish ramp.

 Czech driver Peter Jerie and his experienced French co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter brought up the rear of the Toyota fleet, but were delighted to complete the rally in 42nd place.

  “It was a thrilling and demanding Dakar Rally and I would like to thank my entire team for their hard work and efforts over the last two weeks in South America and in the build up to the rally to get everything ready for an operation of this scale,” said Overdrive Racing’s team director Jean Marc Fortin.

  “We proved that the Toyota Hilux is a potent force at the very top level of cross-country rallying. We won a special stage and were challenging for podium finishes all the way to the end.”

 Overdrive Racing lost Lucio Alvarez and Roberto Patti early on in Argentina with engine problems and the local crew was joined by the Australian driver Geoff Olholm after he crashed heavily and sustained a back injury on the sixth stage.

 Another bitter pill came three days from the end when Saudi Arabian rookie Yazeed Al-Rajhi – who had set an outright fastest time and held third overall for long periods – was forced out of the rally with technical problems in Salta.

 2015 Dakar Rally – final positions:

1. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Matthieu Baumel (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 40hr 32min 25sec
2. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (DEU) Toyota Imperial Hilux 41hr 07min 59sec
3. Krzysztof Holowczyc (POL)/Xavier Panseri (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 42hr 04min 26sec
 4. Erik van Loon (NLD)/Wouter Roesegar (NLD) Mini All4Racing 43hr 34min 17sec
5. Vladimir Vasilyev (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) Mini All4 Racing 43hr 45min 06sec
6. Christian Lavieille (FRA)/Pascal Maimon (FRA) Overdrive Toyota Hilux 43hr 48min 23sec
 7. Bernhard Ten Brinke (NLD)/Tom Colsoul (BEL) Overdrive Toyota Hilux 44hr 14min 27sec
8. Carlos Sousa (PRT)/Paulo Fuiza (PRT) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer 44hr 17min 24sec
9. Aidyn Rakhimbayev (KAZ)/Anton Nikolaev (RUS) Mini All4 Racing 44hr 41min 09sec
10. Ronan Chabot (FRA)/Gilles Pillot (FRA) SMG Buggy 45hr 15min 01sec

 Other Overdrive/Imperial Toyota crews – final positions:

 16. Leeroy Poulter (ZAF)/Robert Howie (ZAF) Toyota Imperial Hilux 46hr 57min 34sec
 17. Bauyrzhan Issabayev (KAZ)/Vladimir Demyanenko (RUS) Overdrive Toyota Hilux 47hr 27min 21sec
23. Marek Dabrowski (POL)/Mark Powell (GBR) Overdrive Toyota Hilux 51hr 41min 08sec
24. Benediktas Vanagas (LTU)/Andrei Rudnitski (BLR) Overdrive Toyota Hilux TBA 51hr 42min 18sec
32. David Bensadoun (CAN)/Patrick Beaulé (CAN) Toyota Hilux 54hr 57min 39sec
 42. Peter Jerie (CZE)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (FRA) Overdrive Toyota Hilux 64hr 58min 43sec

Equipe Mitsubishi Petrobras termina o Rally Dakar em 8º e faz sua melhor classificação na prova

A bordo do ASX Racing, Carlos Sousa e Paulo Fiuza estão satisfeitos com o resultado no maior rali do mundo 

A Equipe Mitsubishi Petrobras completa o Rally Dakar entre os 10 melhores. "Missão cumprida", festejou o piloto Carlos Sousa ao cruzar a linha de chegada. Ao lado do navegador Paulo Fiuza, a dupla terminou a prova na 8ª colocação da classificação geral, com 44h17min24. Foi o melhor resultado da equipe no Rally Dakar, considerada a mais difícil prova off-road do mundo.

"É sempre uma emoção bastante grande, pois não deixa de ser também uma responsabilidade com os patrocinadores, com a equipe e com os mecânicos, que trabalharam duro e prepararam o carro da melhor maneira possível", disse Carlos. "Este é o momento que respiramos aliviados, independente se o resultado poderia ter sido melhor ou pior. Estamos satisfeitos em estar aqui", completa o piloto.

 O Rally Dakar teve 13 etapas e passou por três países, Argentina, Chile e Bolívia, percorrendo regiões inóspitas e muito difíceis, como o Deserto do Atacama, Cordilheira dos Andes e o Salar do Uyuni.

"Cumprimos nosso planejamento e terminamos entre os 10 melhores. Dakar é prova de resistência e o ASX Racing se portou muito bem", disse Paulo. "Estou muito feliz com tudo."

Carlos Sousa exalta o comportamento do ASX Racing nos mais de 9.000 quilômetros de prova, graças ao desenvolvimento, aperfeiçoamento e testes que foram feitos ao longo de 2014. "O carro foi muito bem e só paramos uma vez durante as especiais para trocar pneu. Iremos continuar a evolução, trabalhar mais nele, mas a base é muito boa", afirma.

 O piloto se sentiu muito bem em uma equipe que fala português. "Nesses 15 dias que convivi com a Equipe Mitsubishi Petrobras e com todo o time brasileiro, me senti em casa. E também foi o Dakar que mais falei português", completa, aos risos.

 Recordações

Para a dupla, o momento mais marcante da prova foi a passagem pela Bolívia. Mas cada um a seu jeito:

  "Fazer aquela especial na altitude, subindo aquelas montanhas debaixo de forte chuva, com os vidros embaçando. Foi o dia mais complicado e o mais intenso", revela Carlos.

"A largada em linha, com os carros lado a lado no salar da Bolívia foi muito interessante. É o momento que irei guardar deste Dakar", conta Paulo.

Coma vence o seu quinto Dakar; 14º título para a KTM

Red Bull KTM factory rider Marc Coma of Spain on Saturday sealed his fifth Dakar title and presented KTM with its fourteenth win in this offroad classic. Paolo Goncalves of Portugal took second place and KTM rookie Toby Price of Australia took the minor podium place.

 Coma, A Red Bull athlete, rode to the start of the final Stage 13 with a 17-minute lead over Goncalves however riders were unable to complete the 393 km of the final stage into Buenos Aires after heavy rain made the track surface slippery and too dangerous. The race was halted at CP2 and Coma was declared the winner. The win for Coma equals that of his former KTM teammate Cyril Despres and represents the domination of these two riders on the event for a decade.

 Coma tackled the Dakar with his usual passion and attention to detail, true to his belief that the only result that counts was that in the final day. He took victory in Stage Five and was top three in six other stages. He also rode with care and prudence in the two marathon stages, nursing a damaged tire in the first and safely bringing his KTM 450 RALLY home across the salt flats of Bolivia in wet conditions that resulted in many riders having to exit the rally after salt clogged their engines and electronics.

 Marc Coma: “I’m happy and proud. As usual it was a grueling rally. We had to overcome a problem on the second day that slowed us down a bit in the rankings. So from then on we had to change the strategy a little and push to recover that time. We knew that the marathons would be key stages and they were. I am happy with the team and the people we have around us. This fifth win says a lot about all of us.” Coma also congratulated his two rivals Joan Barreda and Paolo Goncalves who he said were tough opponents. “The level was very high and this also makes the win very valuable,” he added.

 The 2015 rally was an emotional roller coaster for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team and the KTM-supported riders. Factory racer Sam Sunderland got things off to a brilliant start with a solid first stage win, only to get lost at the tail end of Stage Two in what was the longest stage in the 2015 edition. He then crashed out early in Stage Three and had to retire.

 At the same time it was already clear that two young pretenders, KTM-supported Dakar newcomers Matthias Walkner of Austria and Australian Toby Price were out to impress. Both came to the Dakar with only one rally under their tires having raced the Morocco Rally in October. Both were also new to road book-style navigation.

 Walkner drew attention early. After finishing 8-6 in the two opening stages he then won Stage Three. The rest of his rally saw him making great recoveries after difficult days until he finally succumbed to altitude sickness and stomach problems in Stage Nine and had to withdraw. It was an unfortunate end for a rider with great potential and as yet little experience and he exited after making his mark as a rider to watch in the future.

 Price, a four-time winner of Australia’s Finke Desert classic said at the beginning of the rally that navigation would be difficult. He did have some difficulties in stages 4-6 but by the time he started in the final stage he had eight top five finishes and including a win in Stage 12. Price by then had moved up to third overall and was able to make it stick until the race was declared over.

 Regular Red Bull KTM Factory rider Ruben Faria of Portugal finished sixth overall, which was a solid result given that Faria had broken his collarbone only six weeks before the rally. His teammate Jordi Viladoms was one rider who was unable to finish the difficult stage over the Bolivian salt flats. Villadoms was fifteenth overall when he retired from the race. KTM-supported rider Riaan van Niekerk also retired after Stage Seven left Bolivia. He was overall twelfth. Jakub Przygonski of Poland, a regular KTM-supported rider who competes for Team Orlen was eighteenth overall. He has had a difficult season after a serious injury in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of 2014.

 Line honors in the final shortened stage went to three KTM riders. Ivan Jakes of Slovakia won the stage. Countryman Stefan Svitko finished second and Price was third. Svitko finishes fifth overall and Jakes was eighth overall. KTM riders took seven of the top 10 places in the 2015 edition.

 The Dakar 2015 was indeed a battle of attrition. Of the 168 starters in the bikes division only 78 were on the starting line for the final run into Buenos Aires.

 ***

 Dakar Rally 2015 Final Overall Results

 1, Marc Coma, ESP, KTM at 46.03.49 (5th Dakar title for Coma; 14th for KTM)
 2, Paolo Goncalves, POR Honda at 16.53
3, Toby Price, AUS, KTM at 23.14
4, Pablo Qunitanilla, CHI, KTM at 38.38
5, Stefan Svitko, SVK, KTM at 44.17
6, Ruben Faria, POR, KTM at 1:57.50
7, David Casteu, FRA, KTM at 2:00.14
8, Ivan Jakes, SVK, KTM at 2:18.18

Other KTM

11, Hans Vogels, NDL, KTM, at 3:31.50
14, Paolo Ceci, ITA, KTM at 4:58.14
18, Jakub Przygonski, POL, KTM 6:21.12