Dakar: Dakar kicks off proceedings as riders drivers and crews go through scrutineering

Dakar: Dakar kicks off proceedings as riders drivers and crews go through scrutineering

Key points:

–  The 41st edition of the Dakar kicked off proceedings as riders, drivers and crews submitted themselves to the ritual of administrative and technical scrutineering, which are taking place over a three-day period in Lima, Peru’s capital.

–  The Peruvian competitors enjoyed pride of place for this opening session in front of the microphones and cameras, displaying a variety of ambitions but the same pride for the ten days of racing that they are readying to face. From debutant Gianna Velarde to the very competitive Nicolás Fuchs, not forgetting the race’s loyal crew of Fernando Ferrand father and son, they will be patriotically flying their country’s flag!

During the first day of technical and administrative scrutineering, featuring a multitude of outsiders for the various titles up for grabs. Gerard de Rooy came to Las Palmas Air Base in the early morning, eager to begin his comeback after a year on the sidelines, along with his teammate Fernando Villagra. The expectations surrounding the Argentinian as a rival to the Kamaz hegemony are as high as the hype around his captain.

The Honda riders are also looking to cause an upset. The Japanese maker is banking on 2018 runner-up Kevin Benavides and Joan Barreda to end the KTM domination, as well as Paulo Gonçalves, whose participation was in doubt for a while after he fell a few weeks ago. Pundits will keep a close eye on Robby Gordon, who is racing in the Dakar for the first time since 2016 and is determined to take the fight to Mini and Toyota. The stars of the S×S category went through scrutineering, including defending champion Reinaldo Varela and a host of newcomers with the talent to turn the race on its head, such as American Casey Currie, Spain’s Gerard Farrés and Chile’s “Chaleco” López.

An important year is beginning for Peru in sporting terms. Next summer, Lima will host the Pan-American Games, then in October the country will be organising the Under-17 football world cup. However, at present another event of international scale has come to town, with the 41st edition of the Dakar, for which administrative and technical scrutineering began at the Las Palmas air base in the south east of Lima.

Whilst the Peruvians will, in several months’ time be counting on their athletes and young footballers to light up the stadiums, for now their focus is on their 36 representatives who will be getting to grips with the dunes behind the wheels or handlebars of 21 vehicles in total. The Peruvian contingent’s ambitions and resources vary significantly from one competitor to another.

The most loyal to the race, the father and son team of Fernando Ferrand senior and junior, will be taking part for the 9th time having never failed to reach the finish, and with the sole objective of “setting off from Lima and returning home to Lima,” much to Fernando senior’s delight. The family duo will in its own way be serving as a model for the young Gianna Velarde, the most popular of the Peruvian riders on the social networks, who will be attempting to become the first woman biker from the country to complete the challenge:

“Every day, I visualise myself finishing the Dakar, because I know that the mind is very powerful. The worst enemy is in my head, that’s very clear to me. I know that the woman who is leaving is going to be very different from the woman who comes back,” admitted the young lady, whose strong will helped her to overcome cancer at the age of 15 years old, as she made her way throw the aisles of scrutineering.

 

A completely different goal will be in the sights of Nicolás Fuchs, the country’s leading standard-bearer, as he attempts to put Peru as high as possible in the final general standings in two weeks’ time. The former WRC driver came close to the top 10 during his first participation (finishing in 12th place), before being a member of this exclusive club until two days before the finish last year, but is visibly determined to battle with the elite over the next two weeks, thanks to the famous concept of… high-speed caution! “The best way of finishing in the top 10 is to do my utmost to ensure I come back to Lima,”he wisely observed. “I accept the pressure that I have to deal with, because it’s a positive thing that motivates me”.

While the first day of the grand scrutineering parade chiefly witnessed the passage of riders, drivers and crews from the ranks of South American amateurs without any discernible ambitions for the general standings, the Side by Side (SxS) category saw one of its major pretenders, Ignacio Casale, explain his choice to change vehicle after winning twice on a quad: “It’s the category of the future on the Dakar,” the Chilean confidently asserted. His departure from the quad category should present opportunities for the Argentinean favourites in the discipline, namely Nicolás Cavigliasso and Jeremías González, respectively 2nd and 3rd in January 2018 at the finish in Córdoba. They have also now left their vehicles in the secure enclosure and are champing at the bit to tackle the first dunes on the first special programmed for 7th January.

 

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32 minutes ago

MotoGP

"I've beaten two legends: Rossi in Texas and Marquez today" - Alex Rins

Here his reaction after his impressive last corner win yesterday! 🏆

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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A fantastic rider with an amazing machine!!! Congratulations Álex Rins!!!

So, MM can be beaten at his own game. Every dog has its day.

Credit where it's due, great ride. The Suzuki is where Yamaha should be.

A superb race Alex. Once more, Congratulations. You certainly deserve them. A remarkable finish and fight till the finish line. This is what Moto GP should be all about. Great job 😉

Spectacular effort, congratulations on an awesome win.

What happened to all the fans that said MotoGP is boring?

And the coverage kept showing the yamaha pit why

During the race Rin's was definitely by far the better rider💪🏼+ the bike Suzuki performed well under pressure 🔥..

ครึ่งล้อนี้จำไปนาน

EPIC EPIC EPIC RACE TO WATCH ! WELL DONE ALEX !

Love this guy so honest not like MM93

👊🏻✊🏻🏍💨💎

What an honest guy. It must feel great to defeat two of the greatest legends the MotoGP has to offer

Epic in the last corner... Bravo Alex 🏆

💙💙💙💙🏍💪🏁🏆!!!!

Masa I follow markes td,I rasa motor dia tak la laju mane pun..sebab lepas potong rossi terus I cucuk angin motor dia..hahaha

A SUZUKI 👍👍👍👍

Titles

Great race to watch. Great win by Rins.

42 golĺll

Good job Alex rin 42, anak bayi tidak ada apa2 nya😅😅

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13 hrs ago

F1

Which team has impressed you most so far in 2019? ... See Less

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I'm a Mercedes fan but have to say McLaren have done an amazing job this year considering their performance over the last few years.

I would say Williams for the most reliability and focused pit crew. They're only left to improve on pace.

Good to see that McLaren is performing well. I'm sure the team's ability to improve will be remarkable with every race from now on.

Must say McLaren, with the team spirit that they have, and results they managed to achieve... Definitely my favourites this season.

Williams have had the worst start to an F1 team in history. And I think with their tiny budget and willpower, the amount they’ve improved is impressive. They’re still far behind but I hope to see them fighting for podiums in 2021

McLaren. Consistent development and improvement over the season so far. Alfa Romeo has been somewhat of a surprise also.

Being on top is one thing but staying at the top is the art of the game. Kudos to Mercedes for getting it right so far.... #WeMakeItLookEasy

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I would say McLaren even though I'm team Hamilton

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I think the fact that Kimi drags that 8th place car into the points is the most impressive

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None the sport is finished and I've followed the sport since the early 80s

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the gap between top three teams and the rest is too much

McLaren is the most impressive.. Mercedes just has luck week after week.. Hoping Ferrari will get their things together for the second half..

Haas, they have surprised me on how bad they are this year. Compared to last year this year has been terrible. They were fighting Renault for top of the mid pack, this year they are fighting for points at all.

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Quite a gap between 3rd and 4th also between 10th and racing cars.

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18 hrs ago

F1

The crash 💥 The surprise 😱 The battle ⚔️

Spa treated us to a scintillating race last season ⚡️
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I can't wait for next weekend. Spa always produces some awesome action

That Vettel move was such a good sign and made so much hope for the title in 2018, but then horror began and continued until today 😞 I hope that Vettel will win at least one of the next two races, maybe the last chances this year

The circuit spa is amazing..

Leclerc was lucky with the halo there. Things could have ended very badly.. Also, the 4 car moment at the end of the first sector was amazing👌

I was there with my sons. Last years

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I remember this race.The best thing was Ocon almost overtook Vettal overtaking Hamilton. Ocon has to sit in the Mercedes at some point in the future.

What a race! Hoping for the same again next week 👍

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I have a feeling that the Ferraris will do it again. We will not hear the name verstappen so much this weekend.

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Was a good race, hoping this yr will be just as good

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Clamoroso come Charlie Whiting aspettò che Vettel superasse Hamilton per dare il via alla Safety Car

Beyoncé would be proud of the Halo!

So the halo works。。👍🏼👍🏼

People cry about the halo but Charles had luck to have it.

What an overtake from Ferrari that was ...I missed the 2018's Ferrari ....not this SP90

This Race showed why the Halo Makes completly sense. Leclercs carrer could have Ended Right there

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Was there watching sat in the stadium right on that corner, exciting stuff!

Only one week to go, before lights out!

According to the Finnish media, Mercedes is gonna announce Bottas staying for 1 more year.

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