2014 edition of the famous Dakar rally kicked off today. It marks the beginning on 13 grueling days of off-road racing. Today’s Stage 1 was a 112 mile (180 km) trek that included the picturesque water crossing you see here.
Things did not turn out the way Robby Gordon hoped to start the 2014 Dakar. He was late to the start of the special and proceeded to have several mishaps. Most noteworthy was when Robby lost the rear engine cover of his Hummer HST racer. One of the event organizers had to retrieve the piece of bodywork in a service vehicle. In the end, Robby crossed the finish line 2 hr 08 min 06 sec behind the leader and in provisional 133th place. The lost time will be extremely difficult to make up, but we have seen Robby bounce back from similar problems and bring in stage victories. We hope the Hummer HST team (Robby Gordon / Kellon Walch and crew) can quickly recover.
The pace was set by Carlos Sousa of Portugal behind the wheel of this Haval H8 racer. The time to beat was 2:20:36. Haval H8 racecar represents a production model of the same name by Chinese manufacturer – Great Wall. Race favorites – the squad from MINI rounded out the top four.
The custom Chevrolet racer of BJ Baldwin had a better day. He finished the stage in 92nd place – 52 minutes behind the Haval of Sousa.
Here is video from ToyoTires of BJ Baldwin and Robby Gordon preparing for the 2014 Dakar: