Dakar 2011 – Sainz, De Villiers Or Al-Attiyah?
The most difficult rally in the world is hosted for the third time by Argentina and Chile. Sainz, De Villiers and Al-Attiyah are the three Volkswagen drivers with chances to win.
After the 2008 edition of Dakar Rally, which was celebrating 30 years since the start of the first edition, was canceled it was moved from Africa to South America. Now they passed from the adventures between the dunes of Sahara Desert to the adventures between the dunes of Atacama desert and crossing the Andes. Argentina and Chile are hosting the adventure that starts from Buenos Aires on January 1, then it stops for two days in Arica (Chile) on the shore of Pacific for returning in the capital city of Argentina on January 15.
About 10,000 km are scheduled for the 2011 of Rally Dakar, the route making the competitors running at high speeds even at an altitude of over 2,500 m. They will end up further North than in previous editions, the Dakar 2011′s route being very close to the Bolivia and Peru border.
For Dakar 2011 the gasoline-powered cars can increase the diameter of the air intakes to 34 mm. More than this, the teams that use gasoline engines can now use six gears transmissions, compared to the teams that use diesel engines which have to equip their cars with five-gears transmissions. These new regulations need to balance the fight between the cars with gasoline engines and the ones with diesel units.
Compared with the classic rallies, in rally-raid the co-driver has a more important role, given that he needs to dictate for hundreds of kilometers every day. For several years the officials are making changes o reduce the influence of GPS, highlighting the use of road-book. In 2011, the big new thing is that the distance to use the GPS to help you get to the check points (WPM) was reduced. If years ago this distance was of three km, in Dakar 2011 the GPS will show you the direction only 400 m before.
This year, the factory drivers and some other drivers that ended the last two Dakar editions in the first 20th will use in 2011 450 cmc bikes. KTM, the manufacturer that won the last nine editions of Dakar Rally, have developed because of this rule a new bike. Now the Austrians, and more precisely the two official drivers, Marc Coma and Cyril Despres will have to fight for victory against five more bike manufacturers. Besides KTM, at Dakar 2011 Aprilia, Sherco, BMW, Husqvarna and Yamaha will take the start.
VW developed for this edition of Dakar 2011 a new Race Touareg and has three drivers that can win the South American rally. Sainz, the former WRC champion won the rally in 2010, while his South African team-mate won in 2009. Al-Attiyah finished second in 2010 and the Quatar driver is able to finish first at then end of 8,000 km of special stages.
Anyway, there are not few saying that in 2011, just like in 2010 we will see a VW podium. Peterhansel, with his BMW X-Raid can also climb on the podium, while Cuerlain Chicherit and Juan Nani Roma might fight for the fifth place, who, a month before Dakar 2011, was offered a deal to drive a Nissan Navara for Team Overdrive.