The 2019 Dakar Rally is in the books. This year brought some excitement, some surprises and some not-so-surprising results. Toyota was finally able to beat the Red Bull team, while the Russian trucks were once again dominant. There were also a few Americans in the race who delivered some surprises of their own.
The 2019 Dakar Rally’s course is a loop of approximately 3,100 miles, starting and ending in Lima, Peru. 334 vehicles with 534 racers and co-drivers competed against time, the course and each other. 135 of those participants were first-timers. The 334 vehicles range from buggies, and SUVs to cars, bikes, UTVs and HD trucks. The first time competitors get a glimpse of the course is when the green flag drops. Turn-by-turn directions from which teams navigate are provided prior to the race.
For the first time in its history a Toyota vehicle, a factory-sponsored Hilux driven by Dakar Rally regular Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel, turned in a total time of 34 hours, 38 minutes and 14 seconds to win the 2019 Dakar Rally. Another surprise this year is that Toyota nemesis Red Bull doesn’t show up until fourth.
In the Dakar Rally, the Truck Category consists of HD truck brands such as Iveco, Kamaz, Tatra, Maz and Hino. Turning in a time of 41 hours, 1 minute and 35 seconds, the team of Eduard Nikolaev, Evgenii Iakovlev and Vladimir Rybakov had a convincing no-penalties rally to win the truck category again for Russian truck manufacturer Kamaz.
Aussie Toby Price rocked the Bike Category on his KTM with a time of 33 hours, 57 minutes and 16 seconds. Price’s performance was only marred by a penalty of 1 minute and 33 seconds. Price ran the race with a wrist that was still healing from a break and shocked even himself by winning the Rally with no stage victories until the end.
Argentinian riders repped well in this year’s rally, sweeping the Quads podium. On a Yamaha YFM700R, youngster Nico Cavigliasso topped them all with a total time of 43 hours, 1 minute and 54 seconds. The SxS class was also won by a South American team. Chileans Francisco Lopez Contardo and Alvaro Juan Leon Quintanilla drove their Can-Am to class victory with a time of 42 hours, 19 minutes and 5 seconds. Dakar rookie American Casey Currie had an awesome performance, turning in a fourth place finish.