Dakar 2016: Route details unveiled
Credit: Honda Pro Racing
The details of the Rally Dakar 2016 have been unveiled in Paris and the race looks set to be a tough prospect. The Team HRC riders will go into the rally favourites to take overall victory.
With less than a month and a half to go until the Dakar fires up its engines, race organizers ASO have made public the details of the forthcoming 38th edition of the Dakar Rally: 9332 kilometres in total, 4701 of them special stages that will be crucial to decide the winner of the 2016 edition.
It will be the eighth time that the legendary off-road endurance race is held on South American soil. On this occasion the action will take place in Argentina and Bolivia.
Team HRC was present for the event held in the Pavilion Gabriel, in the centre of the Parisian capital, represented by General Manager Martino Bianchi and Team Manager Wolfgang Fischer, as well as three riders from the squad: Joan Barreda (32), Paulo Goncalves (36) and Michael Metge (36).
In addition to Barreda, Goncalves and Metge, Team HRC will field two other riders for the 2016 edition of the Rally Dakar, Italian Paolo Ceci (40) and young American Ricky Brabec (24) making his Dakar debut.
Dakar Director Etienne Lavigne promised the participants, “A great journey and a great adventure… that will remember its origins”. Sporting Director Marc Coma followed, outlining the changes to the Dakar 2016, which will include two marathon stages. In the first of these, the Jujuy – Jujuy stage, riders will not be allowed to work on the bikes, while the second Belén – Belén marathon stage, reverts to the classic version where only riders will be permitted to work on the bikes. The following stage could bring surprises too, in the difficult dunes of Fiambalá, where starting order will be decisive given that bikes, trucks and cars will start together.
The 2016 Dakar Rally starts and finishes in Argentina, although the warmth and colour of Bolivia and its people will once again host part of the race. Buenos Aires, the Argentinean capital, stages the race start on the January 3rd 2016. The next thirteen days and more than 9.300 kilometres will be an endless trail of tracks, dunes, mountains and rivers. Temperatures will range from 4 to 45 degrees Celsius. Anyone lucky enough to survive all of this will be rewarded with the sight of the finishing line in Rosario, Argentina’s third biggest city.
For this edition of the Rally Dakar, Honda will once again be the official motorcycle and supplier of the race.
Team HRC General Manager
So we are here for the Dakar 2106 presentation and I think that it will be really interesting. Marc Coma underlined that the two marathon stages will make all the difference. I think that also from Salta to the end of the race will be quite difficult because we come down from very cold stages in Bolivia at very high altitude to a very very hot area with a starting procedure that will be a bit different with a mix of bikes and probably cars and trucks. It will be an interesting race as usual. I think that Marc Coma did a good job with the new procedure of three minutes between each rider. Team HRC is ready. HRC in Japan have done a lot of work on the bike, also all team work hard in order to be ready for the big challenge. We are fully set up with everything that we need in order to have a good race.
We will have a strict marathon stage waiting for us where the bike cannot be touched from the time of arriving to the time of departure the next day. Argentina and Bolivia we know about from a long time ago. The main thing that could mark a difference from other years is that Marc Coma, who is the Sporting Director, knows the competition very well and so the second week is sure to be a complicated one. Close to the Andes navigation will be difficult. Also, the fact that we could start mixed with trucks and cars will be another factor to bear in mind, as it could prove the difference between one rider and the others.
From what we have heard today, we know that it will be a very hard Dakar. We were expecting it. It will be an intense competition with more days in altitude and the complicated marathon stages. We will have to be very well prepared. The work that we have done up until now should serve us well to put us at a high enough level to be able to overcome any adversaries.
It will be a very long Dakar with some long specials and some marathon stages which will put everyone to the test. Also, the start will include cars, bikes and trucks starting together, which will be a novelty. It will be very technical on the Argentinean tracks with some very difficult navigation. Let’s see if we can overcome it!