The 2013 Season Is Upon Us

The long off-season is ending! It has crept up on me quite quietly and the four or five posts I’d intended to write since New Year never came to be written, so I’ll condense a few thoughts here.

We’ve already seen several races this year, some of them were prestigious and some of them were very good, but really this weekend has to be considered the true start of the motorsport season, for two reasons:  Firstly, it is the first weekend of the year with two properly major events (the Australian F1 GP and the 12 Hours of Sebring), secondly, from this weekend there isn’t really an off week from major racing until the end of November! The season starts properly this very weekend.

I didn’t get anything like as much done this off-season as I’d planned. Partly I have been enjoying the freedom to do as I like after work, partly I haven’t had the energy because I find a cold winter to be mentally draining, and partly I’ve felt I had a lot of time so kept pushing things back. As a result there are fewer blog posts written, fewer DVR or backlog races watched, and a whole side-project was left alone. Admittedly an old and dying computer slowed me down, which finally died recently – now I have a new PC for a new season and I can get cracking!

What have I been watching this off-season?

Continue reading “The 2013 Season Is Upon Us”

Dakar 2012 – Stage 14

Stage 14

Pisco > Lima

Route

January 15th: The last stage of the 2012 Dakar! A bit of a liaison section before the 29km ride to the finish line, and then a podium ceremony (for all competitors) in Lima itself.

Magazine:

Etienne Lavigne, the man in charge.

Stage 14 Summary:

Videos by ASO.

Standings

Today – Bikes

1. Ullavalseter (KTM)
2. Coma (KTM) +1m08s
3. Svitko (KTM) +1m43s
4. Farres Guell (KTM) +2m01s
5. Botturi  (KTM) +2m11s

Overall – Bikes

1. Despres (KTM)
2. Coma (KTM) +53m20s
3. Rodrigues (Yamaha) +1h11m17s
4. Viladoms (KTM) +1h40m56s
5. Svitko (KTM) +1h47m28s
6. Ullevalseter (KTM) +2h11m56s
7. Farres Guell (KTM) +2h14m22s
8. Botturi (KTM) +2h59m04s
9. Pain (Yamaha) +3h17m50s
10. Zanol (KTM) +3h25m56s

It turned into a domination by KTM, yet the Yamahas and Husqvarnas were setting good stage times all the way through – reliablility seemed to let them down.

Overall – Quads

1. A. Patronelli (Yamaha)
2. M. Patronelli (Yamaha) +1h20m17s
3. Maffei (Yamaha) +2h14m21s
4. Casale (Yamaha) +6h09m23s
5. La Fuente (Yamaha) +8h19m06s

Not quite so close in this category as the Patronelli brothers have had it their own way for several stages, after Maffei hit trouble. What Yamaha may have lacked in bikes they made up for in quads!

Today – Cars

1. Gordon (Hummer)
2. Leal Dos Santos (MINI) +21s
3. Holowczyc (MINI) +38s
4. De Villiers (Toyota) +1m28s
5. Sousa (Great Wall) +1m36s

Overall – Cars

1. Peterhansel (MINI)
2. Roma (MINI) +41m56s
3. De Villiers (Toyota) +1h13m25s
4. Novitsky (MINI) 2h11m54s
5. Gordon (Hummer) +2h16m53s
6. Alvarez (Toyota) +4h05m52s
7. Sousa (Great Wall) +4h30m24s
8. Leal Dos Santos (MINI) +5h03m18s
9. Ten Brinke (Mitsubishi) +5h11m18s
10. Holowczyc (MINI) +6h59m38s

A fantastic effort from Peterhansel, in charge for much of the way and takes his 10th Dakar win! 6 of those on bikes. Roma is also a former bike winner and this is his best result in the cars, it comes after some under-the-radar solid stages in the first week. De Villiers put in a great effort in a brand new car conforming to next year’s rules (whatever they are).

Big gaps in the end, it just goes to show how difficult this year’s rally was right the way to the final stages. Sometimes the last few stages of a Dakar are fairly easy after the challenges in the middle.. not this time!
It is also a reflection of the lack of manufacturers entering at the moment, gone are the days of the works VWs and Mitsubishis fighting with several cars each. Privateer efforts are the order of the moment.

Overall – Trucks

1. De Rooy (Iveco)
2. Stacey (Iveco) +51m19s
3. Ardavichus (Kamaz) +1h47m45s
4. Karginov (Kamaz) +5h01m10s
5. Mardeev (Kamaz) +5h01m50s

Gerard de Rooy wins 25 years after his father Jan won the Dakar! Ex-WRC star Miki Biasion finishes 6th. 4th position is won by just 40 seconds.

In Closing

I hope you’ve enjoyed these updates and that they gave just a small flavour of the event. These videos are okay but they don’t do it justice, do seek out some of the 30 minute stage highights shows on YouTube – they are there. Alternatively you can always keep up with the official Dakar YouTube channel where they have uploaded everything I’ve posted here plus lots of extras including ‘Best of Bike‘ and ‘Best of Car’.

With every passing year I become more convinced that the Dakar should stay in South America, it seems a tougher challenge even than West Africa! Then the fan support is like nothing else, so many of them come out to watch.

Dakar 2012 – Stage 13

Stage 13

Nasca >Pisco

Route

January 14th: The penultimate stage and the last day with any real competitive mileage. With only a celebratory 29km tomorrow the rally effectively finishes with today’s stage. The 245km special stage opens with dunes almost immediately, with more of them to follow later on.

Magazine (2min):

I think they’ve uploaded this out of sequence, this is a profile of yesterday’s stage 12.

Perhaps with good reason this stage was profiled, it turned out a lot people had got stuck in the dunes. Nani Roma lost some time but it was nothing compared to some. Check this video at the 22m17s mark (spoiler warning – the video pops up early for me, at the point it shows the stage 13 leaderboard, if you’ve not watched the s13 video yet either skip ahead or wait until later). Unbelievable to see many stuck in one place, everyone likes a challenge but perhaps this was a little too far!

Stage 13 Summary:

A final stage of pushing hard… with some mistakes.

Standings

Today – Bikes

Coma was doing well early on and was leading, before making a major navigational error ending up 2km off course. Sadly he was also struck with a gearbox problem. He lost 13 minutes on the stage, and another 45 minutes with a penalty for a second engine change.

1. Rodrigues (Yamaha)
2. Despres (KTM) +47s
3. Viladoms (KTM) +3m00s
4. Barreda Bort (Husqvarna) +5m13s
5. Goncalves (Husqvarna) +5m46s

Overall – Bikes

1. Despres (KTM)
2. Coma (KTM) +56m03s
3. Rodrigues (Yamaha) +1h11m27s
4. Viladoms (KTM) +1h41m12s
5. Svitko (KTM) +1h49m36s

So a disappointing end to the bike rally especially as I’m a bit of a fan of Coma, he has a great attitude, but what a great fight to remember with a deserving winner, all the way from the start until today!

Today – Cars

Following his run-ins with the officials and his rivals protesting his vehicle, Gordon set out to dominate the MINIs today and for a while he succeeded – until his car rolled on to its side. It took half an hour to right it, which has basically cost him 4th overall.

1. Peterhansel (MINI)
2. De Villiers (Toyota) +8m29s
3. Novitsky (MINI) +12m55s
4. Sousa (Great Wall) +13m39s
5. Alvarez (Toyota) +14m57s

Great Wall get a top five! Roma lost 23 minutes after a stop. Gordon came in 10th, 36 minutes down.

Overall – Cars

1. Peterhansel (MINI)
2. Roma (MINI) +42m57s
3. De Villiers (Toyota) +1h15m09s
4. Novitsky (MINI) 2h12m56s
5. Gordon (Hummer) +2h20m05s

Novitsky takes Gordon for 4th.

These tables should represent the final classifications, give or take a minute or two.

Dakar 2012 – Stage 12

Stage 12

Arequipa > Nasca

Route

January 13th: ‘Robby Gordon likes Nasca‘ – Carlton Kirby, Eurosport. The rally reconverges as one after a long road section, before a special through the sand dunes. The stage had to start further along the course than planned due to flooding.

Magazine (2min):

Something comparing the rally raid MINI against a roadgoing version.

Stage 12 Summary:

Comeback kid.

Standings

Today – Bikes

1. Coma (KTM)
2. Barreda Bort (Husqvarna) +2m43s
3. Viladoms (KTM) +3m10s
4. Despres (KTM) +3m57s
5. Goncalves (Husqvarna) +5m25s

Overall – Bikes

1. Coma (KTM)
2. Despres (KTM) +1m35s
3. Rodrigues (Yamaha) +1h13m49s
4. Viladoms (KTM) +1h40m34s
5. Svitko (KTM) +1h41m45s

Coma takes the lead! With just a couple of stages to go this bike rally could still go either way. Viladoms retakes his 4th place back from Svitko.

Today – Cars

1. Gordon (Hummer)
2. Novitsky (MINI) +15m18s
3. De Villiers (Toyota) +22m06s
4. Ten Brinke (Mistubishi) +23m15s
5. Roma (MINI) +23m38s

Several of the MINIs got stuck in the sand for a while today. Peterhansel came home 7th at +26m27s. It was an impressive performance from Gordon to both miss the worst of the sand and also put in a fast drive, Novitsky didn’t get stuck but finished quarter of an hour behind.

Overall – Cars

1. Peterhansel (MINI)
2. Roma (MINI) +20m00s
3. De Villiers (Toyota) +1h06m40s
4. Gordon (Hummer) +1h44m04s
5. Novitsky (MINI) 2h00m01s

This rally is still Peterhansel’s to lose, but if he does the impressive Roma is waiting to take over. De Villiers is doing well in a first-year programme car. Gordon not only got inside the 2-hour mark again but took another quarter of an hour. He’s out of time though, there are only two stages left – only one ‘real’ one.