Is the 2018 Dakar Too Hard?

2018 Dakar

As far as racing goes, there is surely nothing more gruelling or challenging than the Dakar Rally. Whilst Le Man 24 Hour is certainly tough in terms of duration, the Dakar is simply the most brutal and ferocious race on the planet.


This year’s race started on the 6th of January and has returned to Peru once again for its 40th anniversary year. The theme – yes there is a theme – is preservation of heritage and history. This is not so much about motorsport history but about Peruvian history. So many of the stages are designed to highlight important places and points of interest. Also this year sees a city stage as the race passes through Puno. This will give the public a chance to experience this somewhat mythical race.

Amateurs and Pros

Unlike many race events the Dakar is open to amateur teams. This means not everyone is driving as part of a highly sponsored factory team and not everyone is a pro driver. This is certainly one of the many exciting parts of the race. However, the factory teams are at a clear advantage with all the support, the best drivers and all the money.

Sebastian Loeb

Prior to starting this year’s race, Loeb had said it was his now or never time to win because Peugeot are not running a team next year. Sadly, his big year was cut short. Initially he struggled with brake issues but he had to finally retire after landing in a large hole. He was trying to avoid a car stuck at the top of a dune when it all went wrong. The car was pulled out but his co-driver was injured and that was the end of the race for both of them.

Too Hard?

Carlos Sainz has been quoted as saying that this leg of the race is simply too hard. He mentions the amateur drivers not being able to cope and that it is just not achievable. Although his team is doing very well he goes on to say that the factory teams can just about cope, but without all the support and the driver skill they have the amateurs are being forced out.

So far there were 43 retirements across all the classes in the first three stages and only 43 out of the 73 competitors in the car class actually finished within 6 hours of Loeb’s time!

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