Dakar Rally begins... while, ERC - JannerRallye Concludes!

Dakar Rally, the most enthralling battlegrounds on earth begun a few moments ago, while the first round of the ERC series first round, Janner Rallye concludes. Its an extravaganza of events for motorsports, who like it the dirt[y] way.

Well from the freezing cold roads of Austria, it is the bone dry, simmering hot weather of the South-American continent. Aaand.. Dakar is not for the weak hearted, so if anyone of you landed here... one piece of advice! Go back to mommy! [lol, no pun intended]

Teams from all over the world prepare and practice for this toughest event, nothing short from its last edition and it is that tough. No doubt! The event hold an even playing grounds for nearly all of the vehicle category possible to race on the deserts. From dirt bikes, quads, buggies to monstrous trucks, who want to tear the dirt and push it to the limits.

The entry list is too exhaustive to be posted here, and it is better handled in their official site here, but it would do no justice if we did not mention a few legendary people who are competing. On the Bikes, its the French legend, Cyril Despres who will be the man to beat on his factory KTM, who defends the title of 2012. In Quads, it is better said 'open', since the last winner is not participating, but his brother Marcos Patronelli [Argentina], who finished second.

On Cars/Buggies it will be the legendary French man Stephane Peterhansel, who would like to take his trophy back like last year in his Monster Energy Mini All 4 Racing X-Raid Countryman. In fact Peterhansel started on Bikes, way back in 1991 and won a series of Dakar Series! 2011 winner Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah is back along with legendary Spaniard, 'El-Matador' Carlos Sainz in custom built buggies, and are no doubt they are the one to watch out for! It would not be wise if we miss out the American legend Robby Gordon, who would be back in his specially built Hummer Raider.

Trucks are always a game with the legendary makers like Kamaz, MAN, Mercedes, Iveco and many more.. These are mostly stock-built terrain vehicles, which are enhanced and tuned for the race conditions.

Well it is too much talk and no fun... let the fun begin!

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Jan Kopecky - Wins | JannerRallye - 2013 | ERC - Round 1

JannerRallye, Austria the first round of ERC - 2013, started its second and final leg [2] of the rally today morning as scheduled. The weather conditions were nothing better to yesterday, with clouds and possible rains and temperatures hovering around 6°C and some hints that there could be some ice on the roads too. The closed stages were wet with rain water after a few & had a few patches of ice in some sections, as expected.

The leader board were looking mostly the same to the previous day's closing, and the start order was reversed. Everything looked normal with some minor offs by down order, and not until the rally leader Jan Kopecky hit a puncture on SS15 and so did Francios Delecour. The leaderboard changed dramatically when Jan slipped to 3rd, trailing the new leader, Bouffier, by nearly a minute and Delecour to 7th overall. JannerRallye seems predictable, but may not and things could go wrong if not cautious & sometimes luck could be the deciding factor. Both the experienced top level drivers were not sure how they contracted a flat

In the next two stages, Kopecky had a brilliant drive and trimmed the gap with the rally leader to just around 11s and moved to second overall at the end of SS17. With the final service of the competition underway, SS18 was the only standing challenge in the minds of the challengers, which was exactly 25k to the finish line.

The last SS, staged a bigger battle grounds in dark, foggy amidst rains, for the top place. Delecour admitted that he was plagued by wrong tire choices throughout the rally and said, he just wants to finish as better as he could and wanted the vital points for the overall championship. The top 3 is where the big battle was focused and Bouffier tried his best to keep his gifted position after Kopecky slipped down from a puncture, earlier today. But it was just not enough, as the young Czech went on with a thrilling battle to secure his lost position and claimed the top place in style, by just half a second. Baumschlager held on to his 3rd place finish, but was leading in the Austrian Championship. Fighting in the odd conditions and recovering nearly a minute of lost time in just around 75k's of competitive kms is just fantastic!! What a rally it was.. Awesome!

What we liked about the rally & the fans is the number of turn out, despite odd weather! Even in the dark & freezing cold and rains!! Bravo!!!

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JannerRallye - 2013 | Leg 1 - Update [FIA - ERC]

First leg of the first rally of the ERC season was successfully completed amongst high drama. There were a few retirements, some crashes & off's over the snowy/icy roads of the opening leg, but it is really all of these ingredients which makes a rally exciting. Jan Kopecky dominated the leg from the first stage till the end, with only a brief second position after SS5, but regained it in SS6. Baumschlager was right behind Kopecky, by giving him a tough competition till the end of Leg 1 in their Skoda Fabia S2000Pech Václav, was also in the race to the top position in his Mini John Cooper Works S2000.

Bryan Bouffier & Francios Delecour had some issues with their car & were struggling, but were able to finish the day without big drama. However, Delecour had some issues with the gear shifter of his Peugeot 207 S2000 after SS4, which were fixed in the service after SS6.

The morning stages were pretty clean, with some snow & fog, which went better on the second loop of the first 3 stages. But the second half of the rally was getting on much more foggy/snowy and darker conditions. Jan Kopecky held on to his lead, and remarkably Bouffier who was struggling in 5th, made a good leap to 2nd overall after SS8, when he managed to go nearly 14s faster than the others.

The last two stages was too much run in rain. Well this rally got all weather, but for sun! Maybe, tomorrow! Jan Kopecky keeps his top spot and Bouffier secures 2nd, Baumschlager 3rd, at the end of Leg 1.

The best part of the rally & the series was the short time in which the pics/videos made available to the other following lot who had no access to the live-broadcast. The morning stages were already up by noon & noon stages by evening! Wow! Now that is a first & applaud-able task by the people who made it possible!! 3 Cheers to them!!!

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Those who missed out the yesterday's Ceremonial Start & Press Conference, below here is the videos.
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JannerRallye, 2013 - ERC boasts new design website & more..

JannerRallye has almost begun, with Shakedown in progress over a 3 kilometer SS, and just before that ERC unveils a newly looking website, which is exciting and reminds of the IRC. The website has a lot of functionality and it is the look and feel that makes it even more exciting. Even it has got live streaming of action video, but restricted to EU zone. Well it is a ERC right?!

Coming back to the rally, following the completion of shakedown at 15:00hrs local time, all competing crews and their cars will take part in an official presentation in Freistadt’s Stadtplatz at 16:30hrs. The ceremonial start will take place inside the Freistadt Messehalle from 19:30hrs.

The ambient temperatures are reported to be hovering around the one-degree centigrade mark. Thousands of fans are expected to line the route on Friday’s opening leg, which coincides with a public holiday in Austria, says the official site. Take a look at the new look website here.

The highlight of the event would be the entry of Hungarian television celebrity Zoltan Bessenyey, who is set to contest in several rounds of the ERC for 2WD Championship in 2013 starting from Jännerrallye. So you guys can expect a more than decent coverage from Hungarian television channel!
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Dakar - 2013 | A Preview - Trucks

Dakar is perhaps might not properly understood or loved, if it was not any involvement of the trucks competition. Initially when the Paris-Dakar race started it was all about bikes and cars & the trucks just doing the job getting the needs of service and other logistics moved around. So these trucks too had to be raced from start to the finish of the stages in order to make the services available to the  competing crews and vehicles at the other end. To do so, it attracted more skilled driving crews to make it possible and a better machine, and not to forget to mention the cheering crowd that it pulled alone! And then there was a separate category formed and the competition begun.

Trucks is a category which is definitely the most spectacular, where the huge machines driven really hard, to make most of us to believe in insanity. This year, there are around 75 trucks, and competition list can be found here.

Prior the departure to Rally Dakar , "young" drivers of KAMAZ Master team was preparing and testing legendary trucks for the main competition of 2013 season. All tests and trainings was under the guidance of Vladimir Chagin in the KAMAZ facility and team's training center in Naberezhny Chelny

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Dakar - 2013 | A Preview - Cars & Buggies

Now that the introductions have been made, for the fifth edition organised on the South American continent, the Dakar will be hosted by three countries that have unveiled their characteristics over the last few years. To end the suspense, the route will be hitting the high notes and hitting hard from 5th to 20th January next year. For the first time, the desert stages will make their appearance in the first few days of the rally. After reacquainting with Lima, the drivers will get straight to the heart of the matter. The rest day that will take place in San Miguel de Tucuman will be more than welcome for the competitors, because, to reach Santiago, they will have to go the distance: more than 8,000 kilometres.

Cars & Buggies are definitely the fastest of all the categories & spectacular too.

Stephane Peterhansel, is perhaps one of the most experienced Dakar racer the world has known. He is been almost regular since two decades, since 1991. He started on motorbikes, which he won successively many times and later switched to cars/buggies and he has been successful too. It was in 2012, that he won his last in a factory Mini All 4 Racing Team.

Hungry for more: After his 2nd place finish at the 2012 Dakar Rally, Nani Roma wants to put the pedal to the metal once again.

Toyota too has been backing the South African team, Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in their conquest for glory in the Imperial Toyota Dakar Hilux.

Adam Malysz and Rafal Marton present their new car for the Dakar Rally in 2013, a 5000-mile race testing the best rally drivers in the world. 

There are only a handful of sportsmen who manage to reach the top in more than one discipline; Nasser has done it in two. Nasser became the first Qatari-born athlete to win an Olympic medal when he finished third in the men's skeet shooting competition at the 2012 London Games. His involvement in WRC cannot be forgotten either. Now by partnering with M-Sport, the 2013 season will be even more closely watched for the Qatari-an.

Despite his Olympic success Nasser still remains better known around the globe for his exploits as a rally driver. In 2008 he switched his focus to cross-country rallying and then signed with Volkswagen to compete in the 2010 Dakar Rally, finishing the race in second place behind VW team-mate Carlos Sainz. In 2011, he managed to make it to the top of the podium.

Robby Gordon, with his Hummer & Toyo Tires are ready to scorch the South American desert stages for with all the vigour & stamina.

The custom-built Dakar HUMMER driven by Robby Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch will tackle more than 8000 Km / 4970 Mi from Peru through Argentina and ending in Santiago, Chile making it the ultimate off-road adventure; the 34th Annual Dakar Rally.

“I am excited to go back to race the prestigious Dakar Rally and show the world that we are ready to give it our best shot once again at an overall victory.

Obviously our cars are good enough to compete for the win. Last year we had the fastest cars at the rally and led the most check points with the fastest times, with five wins as a team, two wins with the second HUMMER (which was also approved and is available to compete) and three wins for myself.

It is now time for us to go back and capitalize on what we developed and worked on over the last seven years to put ourselves in position to compete for the overall win," says the excited American.

Not just these listed above, but there is an exhaustive list of cars & competition, which we will witness in the coming two weeks. Stay tuned for more updates at the end of each day!
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Australian Rally Championship 2012 - Season Review

Ever wondered how national championship rally happens in Australia , well here are the review action videos of Australian Rally Championship that happened last season 2012. Think the best part is the Buggy/Polaris category, where the fight looks immense & spectacular too!

More news here.
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Dakar - 2013 | A Preview - Bikes & Quads

Dakar Rally is undoubtedly 'the' most mentally and physically grueling endurance race in existence, considering all the aspects of the conquest that demands riders’ complete energy, continued focus over the course of the fortnight endeavor. 2013 edition set will be no different since across those 14 stages are 8423 total kilometers (5233 miles) of some of the harshest terrain around, 4146 km (2576 miles) of which will be timed. Equipped with a Road Book, GPS and a machine scrutinized down to the last detail, riders will set out on the largely solitary journey starting in Lima, Peru, on January 5, 2013. They will ride for 15 days and end in Santiago, Chile, on January 20, 2013. This 2013 edition also adventure marks the fifth South American event in the Rally’s history since its inception in 1978, originally called as The Paris-Dakar.

Bikes is always the largest strength of all the competition in Dakar. KTM Racing's three times Dakar winner, Spaniard, Marc Coma will not be making it to the competition followed by his haunting shoulder injury in a crash while competiting in the Morocco Rally which was held in October last year. Kurt Caselli will be substituting him for the event. Title defender Cyril Despres is in good shape and already present to start the race. Chilean, Francisco Chaleco Lopez will be on his KTM 450 Dakar and so does the lone Norwegian Pål Anders Ullevålseter.

Honda as a factory team, this time they are back with key riders, Helder Rodrigues [Portugal], and 3 South American riders, Carlos Salvatierra [Bolivia], Jeremias Israel [Chile], Eduardo Heinrich [Peru]. Team HRC lost their key riders for the race, Sam Sunderland and Felipe Zanol after they were injured during testing in the Mojave Desert..

The entire list of bikers is here.


In the Quads, Sebastian Husseini will be making his debut Dakar this year in his TRX 700 XX Honda, says desert is not his concer, but the mental agony & the long distance continual running of the event.

From last year's winning brothers, Alejandro Patronelli [1st] & Marcos Patronelli [2nd], it will be only Marcos who will be competing in his favourite Yamaha Raptor 700, when he too announced his retirement for this year until the Yamaha Argentina offered him a ride which he couldn't refuse. Tomas Maffei another compatriot to Marcos will be on his Raptor 700, who had finished third last year. Lukasz Laskawiec from Poland will be another podium aspirant in the quads category.

The entire list of quad-riders is here.

Lets see what the 2013 has on the offer.. Stay tuned for more news on the progress of the race.
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WRC is possible in India in 3 years | Chandhok

Yes! The new year is certainly ringing bells in the motorsport world. The FMSCI President, Mr.Vicky Chandhok confirms about the possibility of the top level of rally racing on Indian Soils, provided the organising committee gears up with the necessary logistics. And we hope they are capable and are equally keen in doing it.

Below here is the excerpts of the article in our national newspaper.

BANGALORE: With a permanent date in the Formula One calendar now a certainty, the Federation for Motor Sport Clubs in India (FMSCI) has now set its sights on the World Rally Championship.

FMSCI president Vicky Chandhok said a WRC event was possible in three years. "If we work in the right way and with the right structure in place we can host WRC in three years from now," he said.

Chandhok also revealed that the Indian National Rally Championship has already found individual sponsors for the eight-round championship next year. "The individual sponsors for each round have been firmed up which we will announce in a few days," he said.

FMSCI has also decided on ushering in a uniform motorsport structure that is followed across the world. "We are entering a new era of racing. As we progress we want to make sure our events are more in consonance with how motorsport is run globally," he said.

Source :  TOI
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Happy New Year 2013 to all.. with memories of 2012

2013 is just around the corner, and the older one with the joy that was associated are a few memorable moments & some not so sweet. The outgoing year saw its own share of ups & downs / glories & sorrows, with some great achievements and some departures of loved ones!

Just to recollect from the outgoing year, here is a run-down on the few rally championships of most popular flavours, around the world.

Sebastien Loeb, became 9th-time world championship in series, which by itself if unbelievable for an Average-Joe like me.. Yeah, seriously! 9-times!! How much tears been shed.. uh!!? By his rivals, I mean!

For might not be very happy with the dominance of Loeb & Citroen, but M-Sport definitely is!

Andreas Mikkelsen won the season twice in the IRC in a row, which is now merges into ERC.

Global RallyCross, 2012 season saw immense success ratio amidst high drama & the series was won by American Tanner Foust, even though former WRC champion - Marcus Gronholm competing who won the first two round he competed and had to fallout of the series due to injury in a huge crash.

Timur Timerzyanov won the European RallyCross Championship in his Citroen DS3 T16 4x4.

And we anticipate nothing less the new year that is about to ring in all but' more action, drama and hope it doubles what we had so far bringing more fun, cheer & happiness to one and all.

Cheers to 2013.. Bring it on!!
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