Nasser wins Qatar Int'l Rally | MERC - 2013

Nasser Al-Attiyah - Ford Fiesta RS RRC
Nasser Al-Attiyah won the the opening round of the 2013 FIA Middle East Rally ChampionshipQatar International Rally.

Nasser in his Qatar World Rally Team Fiesta RRC with Giovanni Bernacchini co-driving, completed the rally 55.7s quicker than Khalid Al-Qassimi who was driving the Abu Dhabi Racing Citroën DS3 RRC in the 12-stage rally.

Khalid Al-Qassimi - Citroen DS3 RRC
Although Al-Qassimi was 1.1s faster on the final stage, and also he was briefly on the top spot in the earlier stages, he couldn't beat the faster Qatari.

Abdulaziz Al Kuwari finished third, 4m15.0s off the lead, in his Seashore Qatar Fiesta.

It was Nasser's tenth home event victory, says "...winning in Qatar is always a special feeling and to take my 10th win here is superb.”




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WRC could be Hoon'ed by "Ken Block" thrice this season!

Mr.Hoonigan is very much interested in making a return for atleast three rallies this season, in WRC. That is definitely good news for the top rally series. Ken Block recently released his new livery for the upcoming season of Rally America series, and boy, does it look good!

The graphics and colors used on the Hoon'ing machine is simply superb and it definitely reflect his attitude, stands out exceptionally well.

If the return is sure, then he will definitely compete in the third round in Rally Mexico, and Finland and Wales are other favorites. So that should be it, with the three rallies this season. Hope he comes back with good backing and for a full season and it should really bring the good amount of spectators [both on-land & online].

Here is him testing of his car with new outfit, for the ongoing Sno*Drift 2013 Rally, of Rally America Championship series.

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Red Bull-Sponsored Teams see Truck and Bike Wins in Dakar 2013 - Report by Jake Oates

Ruben Faria & Cyril Despres
Red Bull-sponsored teams have claimed victory in the truck and bike categories during this year's Dakar Rally.

Team Kamaz - Victorious
Cyril Despres battled his way through the early stages of the 2013 event, in which buggy, bike, quad and lorry drivers took on 8,500 kilometres of harsh terrain in South America, and managed to claim his fifth Dakar victory.

Cyril Despres - Tackling sand dunes
Riding a KTM, the Frenchman gained his second consecutive win in the rally, despite suffering a penalty after he was forced to change engines mid-way through the race.

KTM boys Champagne Showers
"Of course every win at the Dakar is special but this one stands out for me because it is the first time I have been able to defend my title. Winning the Dakar two years in a row is rare and nobody has done it since Fabrizio Meoni ten years ago," he said of the win.

Team Kamaz's Eduard Nikolaev saw similar success in Dakar 2013, fending off all competition to win the truck category by more than 37 minutes. His victory was doubly special, as he is the first truck driver in the race's history to win the competition without taking first place in any individual stages.

Team Kamaz through sandy route
The Russian, whose career began as a mechanic, was joined by teammates Ayrat Mardeev in second place and Andrey Karginov in third.

Commenting on the win, Nikolaev claimed the full weight of the extraordinary feat has yet to sink in.

Ayrat Mardeev - Kamaz driver
"All I have been concentrated on since we arrived in South America was fighting minute by minute over every kilometre I drove in our truck. To come out of that after such an intense fifteen days with the victory is something that I simply can't put into words. It's simply incredible and I'm on cloud nine right now," he said.

South Africa's Giniel de Villiers also managed an impressive performance, gaining second place in the buggy fixtures and finishing 43 minutes behind defending champion Stephane Peterhansel in his Toyota Hilux.

Unfortunately, a valiant effort in this year's Dakar Rally proved fruitless for the Qatar Red Bull Rally Team, who were forced to bow out of the competition early.

Cyril Despres - Winning Dakar '13
Kamaz - Tackling sand dunes
The early stages saw the buggy team gain and hold a triumphant lead over their competitors. Red Bull driver Carlos Sainz wasted no time in making his mark on this year's rally, hitting the fastest time on the 13km opening stage in Pisco and overcoming navigational issues to beat the pack and claim victory on day two. However, teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah - winner of the 2011 rally - was not content to let Sainz have all the glory - securing his two consecutive stage wins on days three and four.

Technical troubles plagued the team throughout Dakar 2013, forcing two-time World Rally Championship winner Sainz to drop out on day six. He was shortly followed by teammate Al-Attiyah, who bowed out of the competition on day nine due to a broken water pump.

However, the duo were not cowed by the experience and vowed to return for the 2014 event with their sights set on victory.

"Despite having such a short period of time to prepare we still managed to win five of the eight stages we completed. What we achieved at the 2013 Dakar with the Qatar Red Bull Rally Team was really remarkable and I'm so proud to have been a part of it," Al-Attiyah said.



About Cyril Despres

The moment of Glory
Yes! That is five Dakar titles for him
Born to parents who ran restaurants in his native France, Cyril looked destined to follow in the family tradition, or at least not deviate from it quite so much. However, the young wannabe took matters into his own hands when, with an entrepreneurial aptitude to make his parents proud, he got the train to Paris and bought his first bike.

In 1998, Cyril Despres started riding Enduro and in the very same year, he became the French Enduro Champion. Despite his success, money was still tight and with his greater ambition came greater expense. In 2000, in order to race in his first Dakar rally, Cyril sold 6,000 bottles of wine to raise the necessary money. The gamble paid off when he finished 16th, announcing his arrival on the extreme Enduro scene. With greater success came better races and better bikes, and in 2001 Cyril gained his first Dakar stage win.

About Eduard Nikolaev

Emotional moments - Ayrat & Eduard
The son of Russian racing superstar Valentin Nikolaev, Eduard’s route to racing trucks came via his early karting career, where he impressed KAMAZ team leader Semen Yakubov enough to earn him a place on the team as a mechanic for Dakar legend Vladimir Chagin. When KAMAZ fielded a younger team for 2011, Eduard got the call up and helped to bring home a KAMAZ 1-2-3 in the in the truck category.

About Giniel de Villiers

Since 2003, Giniel de Villiers has competed in the Dakar on both two and four wheels. The four-time South African Touring Car champion won the event in 2009 while driving for the Volkswagen team, before switching to Toyota for last year’s Dakar.

About the Qatar Red Bull Rally Team

Nasser Al-Attiyah

Born in Qatar in 1970, Nasser al-Attiyah has enjoyed a spectacular sporting career. Not many athletes enjoy international success in more than one discipline, but Nasser has done just that. On top of his achievements as a rally driver, the Qatari has also represented his country at three Olympic Games in Skeet Shooting – taking a bronze medal at London 2012.

Co-driver Lucas Cruz 

Lucas Cruz is a graduate of the Volkswagen team that dominated the first editions of the Dakar Rally in South America. The Catalonian hails from Barcelona and has been taking on the role of co-pilot since he turned 20-years-old. For the past decade Lucas has been focusing on cross-country rallies and took part in his first Dakar Rally in 2006.

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz has made more World Rally Championship starts than any other driver. ‘El Matador’ was twice crowned WRC World Champion, taking the title for Toyota in 1990 and 1992, and was runner-up a further four times.He has notched up some spectacular podiums since switching to cross-country rally driving, including winning the 2010 Dakar Rally and the 2009 Silk Way event in Russia.

Co-driver Timo Gottschalk

Cars and motorsport have always been part of Timo’s life. During his military service he was a driver, later in life he also worked as a mechanic before earning a reputation as one of the best co-drivers within the sport of rally.Timo’s first taste of the Dakar Rally came in 2007 when he navigated on behalf of Dieter Depping. After a few races with Dieter this co-driver was then recruited by Nasser Al-Attiyah.

To find out more about Red Bull’s participation in this year’s Dakar Rally, check out the site here – www.rebull.com/dakar.

Report by Jake Oates, Custard.co.uk

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From Monte [WRC] to Latvia [ERC], Round 2 Event Details

After an exciting start of the WRC season opening, Rallye Monte-Carlo, ERC is all set for the second round of the newly congregated series. Latvia is the host of the Rally Liepāja-Ventspils, which is scheduled on 1st of February till 3rd, about 9 days away.

Loeb / Elena - MonteCarlo Podium
Last week saw three French aces, dominating the top of the series in world motorsports. Loeb in Monte, Stephane Peterhansel & Cyril Despres, in the absolutely endurance rally, the Dakar's 2013 edition. Maybe the Latvia Rally is not them again, but who knows when there are French aces there too. Bryan Bouffier and Francois Delecour are definitely going to compete and the heat is intense with the round 1 winner, Czech driver Jan Kopecky. Well, how can we forget the Austian Raimund Baumschlager, who finished the event in third.

Latvia Rally has a good 41 competitors so far, can be found here, and has 15 special stages. It is going to be similar to classic Monte style around the sea-lined roads [map], accountable for the calendar & weather.

Also, for Rally Sweden, FIA has released the registered list eligible for scoring manufacturer's points, with crew details.
  • Citroën Total Abu Dhabi World Rally Team, 
    • 1 Sébastien Loeb (FRA), Daniel Elena (MCO)
    • Mikko Hirvonen (FIN), Jarmo Lehtinen (FIN)
  • Qatar M-Sport World Rally Team
    • 4 Mads Østberg (NOR), Jonas Andersson (SWE)
    • 5 Evgeny Novikov (RUS), Ilka Minor (AUT)
  • Qatar World Rally Team
    • 6 Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Giovanni Bernacchini (ITA)
    • 11 Thierry Neuville (BEL), Nicolas Gilsoul (BEL)
  • Volkswagen Motorsport
    • 7 Jari-Matti Latvala (FIN), Miikka Anttila (FIN)
    • Sébastien Ogier (FRA), Julien Ingrassia (FRA)
  • Abu Dhabi Citroën Total World Rally Team
    • 10  Khalid Al Qassimi (ARE), Scott Martin (GBR)
  • Lotos Team WRC
    • 12 Michal Kosciuszko (POL), Maciej Szczepaniak (POL)
  • Jipocar Czech National Team
    • 21 Martin Prokop (CZE), Michal Ernst (CZE)
Middle east champs, Nasser Al-Attiyah in his Qatar WRT, Fiesta WRC & Khalid Al-Qassimi in his Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT, Citroen DS3 WRC return to enjoy the snow event in Rally Sweden of WRC season 2013.
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Dakar - 2013 | Winners - Cyril Despres, Marcos Patronelli, Stephane Peterhansel, Eduard Nikolaev

Day 15 - Route Map, [La Serena to Santiago, Chile]
Final leg of the 2013 edition of Dakar concluded today at Santiago, Chile.

Stage 14 - Stage Profile
On the last leg, which was much easier on the machines and the men/women alike, compared to its last 13 day's of action. Action started with 121 km of a pre-stage road section, 346 km of Special and final 158 km of the last transport section to mark an epic end to the 2013 Dakar Rally-Raid. The stage was mix of climbs/descends and a final longer descending part to mark the end of competition at Santiago.

Bikes / Quads

Cyril Despres - Winner [Bikes]
Frenchman on his KTM 450 Dakar Bike - Cyril Despres taking the top honors with his fifth Dakar win. Chaleco Lopez finished 3rd overall, as he received 15m penalty since he had to get an engine replacement for his bike, the gearbox lost its 4th cog in Stage 13 yesterday. Portuguese rider Ruben Faria, [Cyril's team-mate] finished 2nd overall in his KTM.
Marcos Patronelli - Winner [Quads]

In Quads, Yamaha dominated with a strong top 3 finish with, Argentinian - Marcos Patronelli clinching his second win [first in 2010] on his Yamaha Raptor, while Chilean - Ignacio Nicolas Casale finished in second and Polish - Rafal Sonik taking the final third podium.

It was a clean top 5 sweeping finish for KTM bikes, but it is top 3 finish that make Yamaha the leader in Quads this year.

Cars / Trucks

Stephane Peterhansel - Winner [Cars]
Once again it was the Legendary-Frenchman, Stephane Peterhansel who took to top step on the podium for Cars in his X-Raid, Monster Energy Mini All4 Racing car and adding another to his already record 10 Dakar victories, since his first in 1991 on Yamaha Motorbike.

Eduard Nikolaev - Winner [Trucks]
Giniel De-Villiers couldn't be a match to the legend and finished second on the podium in his Toyota Hilux, while another Mini driver, Russian Leonid Novistkiy took the final podium spot.

Russian Eduard Nikolaev won the trucks category in his Kamaz and his other team-mates, Aryat Mardeev and Andrey Karginov, took a clean 1,2,3 finish for the Kamaz factory team.
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Master' Loeb, wins Rallye Monte-Carlo | WRC - 2013

Loeb - the master, decides to take his 77th WRC rally win, home! Ever since he started his dominance of the event after SS-2, he was untouchable by the best-of-the-best young drivers out there. No-more explanation is necessary to explain his series-9-title-wins. He first braved the 'younger' Seb in the new VW Polo R WRC, then the treacherous stages, braved the ever changing and worsening weather where the young guns crashed.

The last two stages, SS-17 & SS-18 were cancelled due to bad weather, and it was in the super freezing night stages. Very acceptable, 4sure!!

We are in an helpless condition and in 'awe', so we decide to just congratulate you both and decide to hit our sacks, back home. Congratulations Seb! You are the finesse.. and unbelievable.. and one one just last [obvious] question. Are you not an alien? or 'for sure' :) [: no pun intended :]

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Dakar - 2013 | Day 14, Stage 13 - [Copiapo-LaSerena]


Stage - 13, Route Map - Bike/Quad/Car/Trucks
Stage - 13, Stage Profile - Bike/Quad/Car/Trucks
The penultimate day of the Dakar's 2013 edition starts from Copiapo and finishes at the beach city of La Serena, Chile. After 90 km of road section from the service park at Copiapo, lies 441 km of Special Stage with a 61 km neutralised road section at mark km 245. After the flying finish of the day's stage, another 204 km transport section to La Serena concludes the day's action. The stage passes through varying surfaces from rocky gravel, to sand to loose soil. The stage is very steep downhill for the first half until the neutralised section and the latter is rather flat.

Bikes / Quads

Marcos Patronelli - Leads in his Yamaha Raptor
Francisco Lopez is the fastest over the Chilean special stage and Cyril Despres trails back the day's leader by 5m25s. Portuguese, Husqvarna rider Paulo Goncalves finishes third, just 4s short of the overall leader, Cyril Despres.

Marcos Patronelli still leads the overall category on his quad still leads by over 1h50m, however Sebastien Husseini who won the stage. Ignacio Casale was second by just 7s down the stage leader and Lucas Bonetto another 34s slower.

Cars / Trucks

Robby Gordon wins Stage 13, in his Hummer
Hummer driver Robby Gordon goes through the stage fastest, Guerlain Chicherit passes through second fastest with 22s down to Gordon with his SMG Buggy. Orlando Terranova finishes 4m44s down the stage leader and settles in third.

Peterhansel keeps his overall lead intact, no foolish mistake by the Dakar-10-timer-winner who knows how it has to be done and finishes the day 9th quickest. De Villiers in his Toyota Hilux finishes the stage in 4th place and protects his 2nd overall. Russian Leonid Lovistkiy in another X-Raid Mini All4 is hooked to his 3rd place overall and finishes 5th in Stage 13.
Kamaz trucks lead - Dakar 2013
After tragical mishaps with the Iveco's title holder Gerard De Rooy's truck who lost about 1h30m+ late last week, and finished second quickest today. Kamaz were encashing the situation in a very efficient and calculated way, and still it was Andrey Karginov who was fastest through the stage, Tatra driver Ales Loprais finished third quickest.

Overall leaderboard has top 3 for Kamaz.

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The Invincible, Leads | Rallye MonteCarlo - Day 3 | WRC - 2013

Sebastien Loeb is going strength-to-strength, with every passing stage & day. Nothing new though! He extends his lead with a few more seconds to Volkswagen Polo R WRC driver, Sebastien Ogier. Finally after some great crashes and more wild moments, it is the young Russian, Evgeny Novikov who is in the third spot on the over all leaderboard after SS13, after the Citroen DS3 WRC driver Dani Sordoi slips to 4th overall.

Mikko Hirvonen says, "Not very confident with the conditions, was pushing & nearly went off. So later, backed off the pace", so drops to 6th overall by the day's final stage. It was a good recovering day for Jari Matti-Latvala, who finally managed to climb up to 5th overall with impressive performance of his new VW Polo R WRC car. With only 3 stages on the Itinerary, the cars & crews headed to the service park at Valence, Monaco.

Sebastien Ogier - VW Polo R WRC
St Jean en Royans - La Cime du Mas stage (33.19 km, SS-11) was the first stage of the day, and the stage win was taken by the nine-time-world-champ. Ogier managed to keep the margin of win narrow with just 1.5s down Loeb. M-Sport chief driver, Mads Ostberg was third quickest, while the Russian Roulette who was quicker than the rest of the field. With the Austrian Ilka Minor in the navigator seat, Novikov seems to be more composed these days, but how can we forget the strong foundation laid by his most experienced former codriver, Denis Giraudet.

Mads Ostberg - Ford Fiesta RS WRC
After a quick service, SS-12, the return of the classic Monte stages from the yester year's, St Nazaire le Desert - La Motte Chalancon (22.11 km) was the next stage where the Qatar M-Sport WRT driver Mads Ostberg who passed the fastest, and his team-mate Novikov did another good time behind. Mikko Hirvonen was quicker than both the Seb's, who were down at 4th and 5th. Latvala struggled with his new car and was little more than 10s down the stage leader.

Sebastien Loeb - Citroen DS3 WRC
SS-13 , Sisteron - Thoard (36.7 km) was the longest for the day and once again, it was Loeb who was the quickest. Latvala showed his speed here and finished the day's last stage 2nd quickest, 8.7s down the legend. Ogier was third quickest, proved Polo R WRC car has the speed, and it is just the km's that needed in the real-test on the WRC stages to come.

A little more than 108 km lies ahead tomorrow, for the rally to conclude. It is going to be three runs of the super-freezing Col-de-Turini, Moulinet - La Bollene, [23.54 km] and two runs of Lantosque - Luceram - [19 km], with the second one being the Power Stage.

 Pos.      Time    | Diff.Prev   | Diff.Leader |  Driver (comp. no)    | Car                     
  1. 4:16:29.1  |  +00:00.0   |  +00:00.0     |  S. LOEB (1)               | Citroen DS3 WRC
  2. 4:18:29.3  |  +01.47.4   |  +01:47.4     |  S. OGIER (8)             | VW Polo R WRC
  3. 4:20:01.8  |  +01:32.5   |  +03:19.9     |  E. NOVIKOV  (5)       | Citroen DS3 WRC
  4. 4:20:03.5  |  +00:01.7   |  +03:21.6     |  D. SORDO (10)         | Ford Fiesta RS WRC
  5. 4:20:46.8  |  +00:43.3   |  +04:04.9     |  J. LATVALA (7)         | Citroen DS3 WRC
  6. 4:21:01.0  |  +00:14.2   |  +04:19.1     |  M. HIRVONEN (2)     | VW Polo R WRC
  7. 4:21:57.4  |  +00:56.4   |  +05:15.5     |  J. HANNINEN (6)       | Ford Fiesta RS WRC
  8. 4:23:00.1  |  +01:02.7   |  +06:18.2     |  M. OSTBERG (4)      | Citroen DS3 WRC
  9. 4:25:02.6  |  +02:02.5   |  +08:20.7     |  B. BOUFFIER (22)    | Ford Fiesta RS WRC
  10. 4:35:30.7  |  +10:28.1   |  +18:48.8     |  M. PROKOP (21)      | Ford Fiesta RS WRC


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Dakar - 2013 | Stage 12, Day 13 - [Fiambala-Copiapo]

Stage 12, Day 13:

Dakar '13, Stage 12 - Map Profile
Dakar '13, Stage 12 - Route Profile
Dakar rally now heads back to Chile with the 12 stage on its 13th day. The action starts from Fiambala, Argentina with 392 km of liaison through the border, and the special stage of 319 km, starts in Chile land. The day ends with another short 4 km of road section to end the day. The route is the same for all category competition.

Organisers - Stage Debriefing

The rally will cross the Andes Mountains from the east to the west this time, via the Paso San Francisco, before dropping down into the Atacama Desert to taste all the types of difficulties that can be faced in the rally-raid discipline. For the large portions of dunes located in the middle of the special, the riders and crews must climb these “monuments” and avoid getting stuck in hollows that are just as big. On the tracks, the stage will be no easy task, since the rocks and stones, though scattered, could even bring the quickest competitors to a sudden halt. The participants who managed to reach Copiapó without making mistakes will have scored precious points in the final battle. Following the neutralisation of their special yesterday, the car and truck crews will probably have to tame their frustration, whilst the bikers, still closely grouped behind Cyril Despres, will have to battle to make the difference. The leading quad riders are relatively safe in terms of position, even if this stage is likely to count among the more decisive on the rally.

Bikes / Quads

Frans Verhoeven (NLD), won the stage, while Cyril Despres leads the overall classification, bikes. Quad #265, UAE Honda rider Sebastian Husseini made the fastest stage finish over the overall-leader Marcos Patronelli.

Cars / Trucks

Peterhansel's team-mate, Mini All4 Racing driver of car #305, Joan (Nani) Roma (ESP) won the stage, and Stephane Peterhansel keeps his over-all lead. Guerlain Chicherit's buggy developed some gear-box issues. Robby Gordon made good pace in the initial part of the stage.

In Trucks category, Kamaz truck #510 driver Andrey Karginov (RUS) took the stage lead, while Eduard Nikoleav (RUS) driver of truck #50 leads the rally.

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Loeb Still Leads - Rally Monte-Carlo, Day 2 | WRC - 2013

Sebastien Loeb - Citroen DS3 WRC
Sebastien Ogier - VW Polo R WRC
Sebastien Loeb continues to dominate on the second day of Rally Monte-Carlo, with a comfortable lead of 1m34.8s. It was more of a controlled aggression by the driver/codrivers to tackle the tricky and mostly frozen twisty narrow mountain roads of Monaco.

Today first stage, SS5 was won by VW driver Sebastien Ogier in his Polo R WRC, while the Russian Evgeny Novikov claimed SS6 in his works Ford Fiesta RS WRC. Juha Hanninen went fastest and won his debut WRC stage win in another Qatar M-Sport WRT's, Ford Fiesta RS WRC.

Dani Sordo did not have any stage win, but rather a consistent drive to ensure he finished third overall by the end of day, i.e., SS10.

  Pos    Time      | Diff.Prev   | Diff.Leader |  Driver (comp. no)     | Car                     
  1. 3:16:29.1  |  +00:00.0   |  +00:00.0     |  S. LOEB (1)               | Citroen DS3 WRC
  2. 3:18:09.9  |  +01.34.8   |  +01:34.8     |  S. OGIER (8)             | VW Polo R WRC
  3. 3:19:07.1  |  +01:03.2   |  +02:38.0     |  D. SORDO (10)         | Citroen DS3 WRC
  4. 3:19:22.3  |  +00:15.2   |  +02:53.2     |  E. NOVIKOV  (5)       | Ford Fiesta RS WRC
  5. 3:19:51.8  |  +00:29.5   |  +03:22.7     |  M. HIRVONEN (2)     | Citroen DS3 WRC
  6. 3:20:12.3  |  +00:20.5   |  +03:43.2     |  J. LATVALA (7)          | VW Polo R WRC
  7. 3:20:40.4  |  +00:28.1   |  +04:11.3     |  J. HANNINEN (6)       | Ford Fiesta RS WRC
  8. 3:22:14.5  |  +01:34.1   |  +05:45.4     |  B. BOUFFIER (22)    | Citroen DS3 WRC
  9. 3:22:18.1  |  +00:03.6   |  +05:49.0     |  M. OSTBERG (4)      | Ford Fiesta RS WRC
  10. 3:30:44.7  |  +08:26.6   |  +14:15.6     |  M. PROKOP (21)      | Ford Fiesta RS WRC

 The best part of the rally & the media/tv house was to prepare and broadcast video highlights of the first 3 stage of the day, even before the second half action begun. Here it is.


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Dakar - 2013 | Stage 11, Day 12 - [LaRioja-Fiambala]

Day 12, Stage 11:

Kamaz Truck
As the rally heads toward its conclusive day, the competition is getting tougher. Today, with just under 500kms of total itinerary and 220 km of special stage the sense of accomplishment and nervousness gets into the viens of the top runners. From here on, any mistakes will certainly break their chances of winning or even keeping their respective positions. Bikes, Quads, Cars & Trucks are the similar order in which it is going to happen.

Bikes / Quads:


Bikes / Quads : Stage 11 - Map
A transport of 256 km will take the competition to their proving grounds for another 220 km, to end the day with another 6 km to the day's retiring camp at Fiambala. A total of 482 km waits for Bikes & Quads.
Bike - Joan Barreda Bot


After an eventful day yesterday of David Casteu's retirement the KTM riders almost rule the top 6 positions. American Kurt Caselli won the stage today, while Husqvarna rider Portuguese Paulo Goncalves finished second fastest and overall leader Cyril Despres finished 6m down the day's winner.

Bikes / Quads : Stage 11 - Profile
Quads - Rafal Sonik
On Quads, Honda rider Australian Paul Smith won the stage, and Gaston Gonzalez finished second, while overall rally leader Marcos Patronelli finished third.

Cars / Trucks:


Peterhansel - Mini All4 Racing
Stage 11: Cars/Trucks - Route Map
As with bikes/quads, Cars & Trucks will tread 256 km of road section for 219 km of special, a different of the Bikes/Quads to ensure their safety in the heat of competition. Similar 6 km to end the day at the service park in Fiambala.

Race2Recovery - LandRover
X-Raid, Mini All4 Racing driver Stephane Peterhansel was the first to start the day's action, followed by other few cars and the stage was geting beyond drivable. Heavy rains had made the dry riverbeds, which were crossed as part of the stage, virtually un-motorable.
Stage 11 : Cars/Trucks - Route Profile

After Checkpoint 2, the organisers decided to 'pull-the-plug' for the stage and cancelled completely for the trucks and few cars that were to start the stage and directed to the EoD service park/ferme.

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Rallye MonteCarlo - Day 1, Report | WRC - 2013


Day's Overall Rally Leader - Sebastien Loeb
Monaco - Flag
First stage of first rally of the first season, especially for VW Motorsport and Sebasien Ogier, seals it with the debut stage win! 'Seb-the-Loeb', however takes it away in the SS 2 with over 10s and becomes the new leader.

And the questions about the media services for WRC, the now, new media partner being Red Bull - Media House [http://www.laola1.tv], has made quite a few interesting videos. Hope it gets better.!

Okay coming back to the rally, the first half of the day saw what 'WE' had expected, the fight between Seb's. Ogier took the maiden stage win for the debut competition stage for VW Polo R WRC, shaving off 3.7s to Loeb. Neat, eh?, but Loeb answered that in the SS2 by a clean 10.4s and showing who the senior is!

Volkswagen Polo R WRC - Latvala
Second half of the day, was the beginning of the real drama, although while S.Loeb maintained his lead throughout SS3 & SS4. It was the timing system that went haywire. Sistemas Integrales de Telecomunicacion (SIT), is the new timing & tracking system provider who took over this season from Stage 1 Tech. Also, there was some lack of real-time information for the followers, who seemed to be in trouble for some reason or the other.  It was the Live-Text that was missing in the parental site, www.wrc.com. But there were a hoard of tweeters who did the job, but it was questionable of the reliability of the official duty. Hope FIA / WRC will fix it soon!

SS3 results went real bad, & SS4 couldn't be believed, so was the overall ranking. Hope they fix-it for the for the last ever time. By the way, when was it last heard of timing system going bad, with Stage 1 Tech? No, we don't have a clue. Somebody aptly said, "Don't fix something, that ain't broken yet"!

Rankings after day 1, it is still not clear and not-final, because time problems Stage 3. But at the moment it looks like this.

  Pos    Time      | Diff.Prev   | Diff.Leader |  Driver (competition no)
  1. 1:39:49.0  |  +00:00.0   |  +00:00.0     |  S. LOEB (1)
  2. 1:41:09.3  |  +01.20.3   |  +01:20.3     |  S. OGIER (8)
  3. 1:41:35.7  |  +00:26.4   |  +01:46.7     |  M. HIRVONEN (2)
  4. 1:41:50.2  |  +00:14.5   |  +02:01.2     |  D. SORDO (10)
  5. 1:42:21.2  |  +00:31.0   |  +02:32.2     |  J. LATVALA (7)
  6. 1:42:39.6  |  +00:18.4   |  +02:50.6     |  E. NOVIKOV  (5)
  7. 1:42:44.1  |  +00:04.5   |  +02:55.1     |  M. OSTBERG (4)
  8. 1:42:46.1  |  +00:02.0   |  +02:57.1     |  B. BOUFFIER (22)
  9. 1:42:52.5  |  +00:06.4   |  +03:03.5     |  J. HANNINEN (6)
  10. 1:46:00.3  |  +03:07.8   |  +06:11.3     |  M. PROKOP (21)

Neuville Fiesta's - Broken Tie-Rod
Thierry Neuville was the first to be listed on the retirement list after damaging off his left front wheel of his Qatar M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC.

The tracking system had also caused some issues on the first loop, when Loeb's car was falsely registered as having stopped on stage one and Rally Officials asked Citroen Racing to disconnect sensors in Loeb and Dani Sordo's cars. "For safety reasons and after consultation with the FIA technical delegate, the stewards permit to disconnect the boot and bonnet sensors of the GPS tracking system in car #1 and car #10 as this item apparently blocks the sending of signals from the GPS safety tracking system in these cars," explained a stewards' statement.

Drama or issues, Day 1 ends of the season opening rally. See you guys tomorrow.

 
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