Peru welcomed the 41st edition of the Dakar that finished today in Lima after 10 punishing stages, the outcome of which was victory for a heroic Toby Price in the bike race, Nasser Al-Attiyah with his third title in the car category thanks to his exemplary strategic poise, Nicolás Cavigliasso unprecedentedly dominating the quad category, Francisco “Chaleco” López succeeding in his comeback and conversion after six years of absence with a win in the SxS race and Eduard Nikolaev picking up his fourth title in the truck race. Beyond the winners, 179 riders, drivers and crews (75 bikes, 15 quads, 76 cars, 20 SxS and 13 trucks) reached Lima to enjoy a podium ceremony at the end of the day on Magdalena beach, where it all started.
A battle well and truly took place in the Side by Side category, which swelled threefold in number in 2019 (with 30 crews at the start), thanks to the arrival of prestigious competitors, such as former biker Francisco López, who had previously failed to conquer the title on two wheels (3rd in 2010 and in 2013) but did not let the chance slip through his fingers for his first participation in the SxS category. After a discrete start to the rally, “Chaleco” put on an imperial display ahead of title holder Reinaldo Varela and former biker Gerard Farrés (3rd in 2017), while Sergey Karyakin, Casey Currie or Ignacio Casale had already lost a lot of ground. The most successful comeback kid on the Dakar 2019, with three stage victories to add to his already impressive roll of honour (11 specials on a bike), “Chaleco” nailed Chile’s colours even further on to the mast of the rally, with a triumph that follows on from countryman Ignacio Casale’s two successes in the quad race (in 2014 and 2018).
Story and photos courtesy of Dakar.com