20 Years Ago: 21st Dakar Rally

20 Years Ago: 21st Dakar Rally

20 years! Two decades! That’s how long RacingJunk.com has been in business, and we are celebrating this milestone by looking back at some of the good, bad, ugly and just plain weird things that happened in the race and performance space 20 years ago! Every Thursday, we’ll throw it back to the end of the millenium and check out what 1999 had to offer (aside, of course, from Prince!). Want to share? Tag us with #RJ20Years in your social posts!

On Jan. 1 of 1999, the 21st Dakar Rally sprang into action, not ending until Jan. 17 after a full 16 stages had been run.

This rally was notable for a number of reasons, not least an incident in the 12th stage when 50 competitors were robbed by a group of armed men, who stole vehicles, fuel and money from the racers. After some discussion, rally officials decided to press on with the race.

Also of note was Jutta Kleinschmidt’s lead during the fifth stage of the rally. The year previous, she had become the first woman ever to win a Dakar Rally stage; two years later in 2001, she would be able to make the dual claims of being both the first woman to win the rally overall, and the first German driver to win in a car category. Even now, those records still stand.

In the end, French driver Jean-Louis Schlesser took the victory, with Richard Sainct (also of France) winning the motorcycle title and the truck title going to Czech driver Karel Loprais.

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