The 2013 Dakar Rally is effectively being run in reverse this year. While sand dunes usually come in the second half of this marathon rally, the difficult dunes are first up on the schedule this year. Robby Gordon had a bad start on the very first stage. He slowed down too much to go over the top of a dune, lost momentum, and got stuck on the crest. He also had a transmission problem when trying to get out.
On Stage #2, navigation was a major issue with many racers having trouble finding a way-point. Many drivers complained to the officials. Carlos Sainz, the 2010 Dakar Winner, even got 20 minutes back when the officials thought that their satellite data was at fault. However, even this decision was later overturned and Sainz only received two minutes in the end.
Robby Gordon came back into his own on Stage #3. His Speed Energy Hummer was eating up the terrain and navigation was more straight forward. Robby finished 2nd in this stage, improved to 13th overall, and took two and a half minutes out of his deficit to the overall leader. This put him almost 47 minutes behind the leading MINI of Stephan Peterhansel. This is a sizable disadvantage, but anything can happen in Dakar and anything is possible.
Difficult situation turned much worse for Robby on Stage #4. Another steep sand dune caused his Hummer to hit the bottom grill first, teeter in the air for a few seconds on the front end, and go over on its roof. This caused damage to the radiators and destroyed his hopes of staying competitive for the win. Robby used a satellite phone to call for help, but help was far away. In the end, he lost a huge amount of time and whether he can continue the rally is unknown.
I wish the best to Robby Gordon’s team and all the racers and teams. The Dakar Rally is never boring to watch, and I thank all the brave souls that make it possible.
Please enjoy TFLcar coverage of the 2010 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, software engineer, writer, and reporter. He has been writing and reporting at TFLcar since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – he often scours the internet and other media for various automotive, mechanical, and computer related information.