|Desafío Inca: 83 vehicles cleared for the symbolic start of Peru Rally|
Ica will set the stage for a fierce battle throughout the three stages of the "Desafío Inca" rally, as the top drivers and riders fight to dominate their categories. With over 1,000 kilometers of racing entirely on dunes, the maiden edition of the Dakar Series in Peru will be anything but a walk in the park for the competitors.
There is a reason why those who signed up for the Desafío Inca started their preparation several months before they even set foot in Paracas: the tough safety and technical requirements set at the various checks they faced yesterday.
Drivers, riders, navigators and mechanics must work hard on their two- and four-wheeled machines well in advance to avoid being caught offside. Seemingly small things like a vehicle with papers that are not up-to-date or an expired driving or sporting licence could dashed the hopes of the competitors and knock them out of the race before they have covered a single inch. In the end, 37 motorcycles, 26 quads and 20 cars were cleared to start today.
Cyril Despres stands out as the favourite in the motorcycle category. Yamaha's new recruit, a five-time Dakar winner and the defending champion in the biggest motor sports event in the world, will have to see off an international field of well-known riders, including David Casteu, José Manuel Pellicer, Daniel Gouet and the Prohens brothers (Felipe and Jaime), as well as Felipe Ríos, who will fly the flag for Peru.
The quad category will see a clash of titans between Chile's Ignacio Casale and Argentina's Lucas Bonetto. Both of them have already showcased their full potential in racing conditions, with the latter triumphing in style at the Desafío Ruta 40. Daniel Mazzuco, winner of the same Argentinean event in the 4x4 category back in June, will also be on the start line in Peru. Sebastián Halpern, Sergio La Fuente and Ignacio Flores will be looking for the slightest chink in their armour.
The car category, one of those which have raised the most expectation, is sure to feature lots of action. Brazil's Guilherme Spinelli will start as the big favourite following his performances in the 2010 and 2011 Dakars. He will come up against a host of Peruvian riders, who have signed up for this event en masse with Ramón Ferreyros at their helm. Two of the best national teams, Alta Ruta 4x4 and Duro 4x4, will join the Bolivian, Chilean and Colombian contingents.
After the Desafío Ruta 40 in Argentina, the Dakar Series will have tasted Peruvian soil by the end of the Desafío Inca, in which 17 drivers and riders will vie for the top honours in the motorcycle (15) and car (2) categories. Motorcycle rider David Casteu will be on the hunt for a win to crown his great performance, but rivals such as Daniel Gouet, the Prohens brothers, Juan Carlos Salvatierra and Pablo Quintanilla will certainly not go down without a fight. The car category is a Bolivian affair in which Marco Bulacia and Luis Barbery will fight to finish first in Ica.
Last but not least, the Dakar Challenge will also be a clear objective for rookies aiming to take home one of the free spots on offer for the 2014 Dakar Rally and amass as much experience as possible. Everything is ready for the commencement of hostilities in the car (7), motorcycle (12) and quad (13) categories. Miguel Bulacia and Peru's Roberto Pardo will be on the business end of things in the car category, while one of the many local riders is expected to win in the motorcycle category, and Fernando Loli-Arnao, Víctor Gallegos and José Salaverry are among the big names in the quad category.
2013/10/04 | 12:09 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/ASO