Paulo GonÌ¤alves, second-place finisher for Honda in 2015, today took part in the official 2018 Dakar Rally presentation, as details of the race were revealed. The 40th edition looks set to be a hard-fought event in which the Monster Energy Honda Team will have their sights firmly set on a final victory.
"As we expected the Dakar that is coming will be one of the most competitive in history and will, perhaps, be the most difficult one to date." Goncalves stated. "With today‰Ûªs presentation we have seen that there won‰Ûªt be a single day‰Ûªs relax and every day will be extremely demanding physically, for the riding and for the navigation.
"For our part, we will give it everything, everyday to try and make it to Cordoba in the best possible positions."
One of the longest-awaited days for the Dakar community finally arrived yesterday. Until then, all that was know about the rally was what had been unveiled earlier in March with the announcement of the locations for the 2018 odyssey with its coveted bronze Tuareg statuette prize. This time it was the Pavilion d‰ÛªArmenonville in the French capital that on Wednesday hosted the official presentation of the key details of the 40th edition of the Dakar ‰ÛÒ the mother of all rallies ‰ÛÒ the longest and toughest challenge for both riders and mechanics.
The event began with an ample summary of the race‰Ûªs thirty-nine year history with some of the most poignant pictures, highlighting the courage of the riders over nearly four decades of offroad thrills and spills. Dakar Director Ìätienne Lavigne spoke about the epic South American adventure: ‰Û÷It is likely to be exceptional. Peru will again feature, like it did in 2012 and 2013. Bolivia will host the race for the fifth time too and Argentina will also be present as it has done every year since 2009'.
There remains only a month and a half before the busy streets of Lima begin to reverberate to the howl of the Dakar engines on January 6, 2018. The capital of Peru returns to the competition after a four-year hiatus. With just forty five days to showtime the Monster Energy Honda Team are primed and poised to get their Honda CRF450 RALLY on the road for the mammoth 9000 kilometre trek that leads to the final finish line in CÌ_rdoba, Argentina.
En route competitors will be faced with thirteen gruelling days of racing. By the time the entourage arrives at the halfway stage for the rest day in La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, riders will barely have time to catch their breath or prepare for the final intense week which is expected to be one of the toughest rallies in the ten years that the event has been held in South America.
‰Û÷The Dakar has been the race of my life,‰Ûª was how Sporting Director Marc Coma described the Dakar Rally at the presentation. ‰Û÷It will be a dream ride to celebrate the four decades of this extraordinary race.
It will be a magic edition where the riders will be able to battle through the dunes and get lost in Peru. Once again we will be able to surrender to the adoration of Bolivia, before we end up back at South America‰Ûªs motorsport capital Cordoba, where there will be a big party to celebrate ten years of the Dakar in South America. We have juggled around the stages, for example, with the second stage, where the bikes will start after the cars. Also, stage four will have a motocross-style start and the alternating fifth stage will be where the riders will get to see the Tanaca dunes for the first time.
In Bolivia, after the rest day in the capital La Paz, the first of the two marathon stages for motorcycles takes place. One of the longest stages will be Stage 8 from Uyuni-Tupiza. The entrance to Argentina will begin to mark out the clear favourites to win the race,‰Ûª stated Coma, ‰Û÷The altitude will be left behind and the sand will welcome us.
Navigation will be a key factor and the starting order for the FiambalÌÁ Super Special may also be crucial before reaching the final part of the Dakar, which will end in Cordoba with a final special loop in the mountain range, crossing numerous rivers‰Ûª.
2018 Dakar Rally Stages
6/1 Lima-Pisco PerÌ¼ 31 272
7/1 Pisco-Pisco PerÌ¼ 267 278
8/1 Pisco-San Juan de Marcona PerÌ¼ 295 501
9/1 S. Juan de Marcona-S. Juan de Marcona PerÌ¼ 330 444
10/1 San Juan de Marcona-Arequipa PerÌ¼ 264 770
11/1 Arequipa-La Paz PerÌ¼/Bolivia 313 758
12/1 Rest day in La Paz Bolivia ‰ÛÒ ‰ÛÒ
13/1 La Paz-Uyuni Bolivia 425 726
14/1 Uyuni-Tupiza Bolivia 498 584
15/1 Tupiza-Salta Bolivia/Argentina 242 754
16/1 Salta-BelÌ©n Argentina 372 795
17/1 BelÌ©n-Chilecito Argentina 280 484
18/1 Chilecito-San Juan Argentina 375 722
19/1 San Juan-CÌ_rdoba Argentina 423 904
20/1 CÌ_rdoba-CÌ_rdoba Argentina 119 284
Total 4234 8276