Happy New Year! from Asuncion Paraguay, we are about 16 hours behind NZ. It was a nice celebration at a local restaurant with about 50 others from the multi-national Overdrive Hilux team. I have added Paraguay to my list of 54 countries visited on my travels so far. Interesting place and both hot (41C) yesterday and very wet when it rains. The Dakar has brought Asuncion alive. Leave town with the Dakar circus early tomorrow morning and head 400km south into Argentina to see some real action in the deserts of northern Argentina. Seasons greetings to all and commiserations to those who would like to be here. Did I mention the steaks are huge and the Corona is cheap!!
An Italian Fiat Panda 4×4 Dakar car at our hotel in Asuncion. I want one. When it rains, it really rains! Let the journey begin. But it requires a lot of map study.Peugeot are ready to do battle with 4 of the new Dakar 2017 3008’s
The 2017 edition of the Dakar Rally is underway. Visited the Rally village and Start ramp this afternoon. The first of the riders and Pilots (as they call them here) put on their racing attire to cross the ceremonial start in +40c temps. Shit it was hot! and thousands of spectators! The day has just been complimented by a nice dinner and super cold Corona! I reminded the clients that this could be the last flash meal at a respectable hour for a while.
Saturday the 7th January. Cochabamba, Bolivia. The rain is pouring down and the 6th stage of Dakar 2017 was cancelled early this morning due to deteriorating road conditions, a rally organisers nightmare I would say! We saw snow on the 4000m mountain pass yesterday while travelling to stage 5 near Oruro. I must say the cooler temperatures in Bolivia are a pleasant change from the hot 40C+ temps back at sea level in Argentina. The Dakar adventure continues as Loeb and Peugeot dominate. Toby price is out with a broken leg and Iveco leads a pack of 4 chasing Russian Kamaz’s. All going well with the Rally Tours Dakar tour but the days are long and the altitude has had interesting effects not known to people who live at sea level.
Interesting and challenging road into a stage in Argentina. Great view point near the Argentina / Bolivia border. The crowds here in Bolivia are amazing! Rally Tours are part of the Dakar circus near Oruro, Bolivia.
It was a rest day in La Paz Bolivia today for the Dakar and its circus. A chance to try and “catch a breath” at 3750 m before the long and arduous trek back into Argentina and to the finish at Buenos Aires on the 14th. Just about 4000km to go! Cool place La Paz, literally, it was 8C this morning and shrouded in cloud.
La Paz makes Wellington NZ look flat. Specially designed buses for the hilly conditions. 20-speed gearboxes I think? Makes for interesting driving and navigating.
It’s Sunday morning in a quite Buenos Aires. The Dakar 2017 is over the elation of finishing this grueling event was displayed at the finish podium last night by just over 50% of the original starters
Clean sweep by Peugeot in the car class. And the Russian Kamaz’s took 1st and 2nd in the trucks… A Brit on a KTM won the bikes after Australia’s Toby Price crashed out breaking his leg on day 3 !!
Deep Creeks pose a problem for this bike! He needs to get out of there as fast as he can…..see the next video. Note the spectators in the river in deck chairs. Video credit to Scott Sato.
A big splash by a Belarusian MAZ. Top viewing spot on top of the Rally Tours Land Cruiser. Note the Rally Sport Mag Umbrella from Australia !!
Peugeot took a clean 1,2.3 dominance of the Dakar this year. It’s easy to see how with their multi $M investment in their Dakar weapon the DKR3008. The investment is also in the drivers, Peterhansel. Loeb, Deprese and Sainz.