Dakar 2013 saw Red Bull sponsored teams victorious in the truck and bike categories. Cyril Despres claimed his fifth Dakar victory across the 8500 kms of harsh terrain in South America. Astride a KTM, Despres achieved his second consecutive win in the rally even though he received a penalty due to which he had to change engines midway.
This second consecutive win was even more noteworthy for Despres due to the fact that it was the first time he was able to defend his title. A feat of winning the Dakar two years in a row is rare and last achieved by Fabrizio Meoni over a decade ago. In the truck category, Team Kamaz’s Eduard Nikolaev also achieved victory at the Dakar 2013 winning in the truck category by over 37 minutes, thus making him the first truck driver in the history of these races to win the competition without taking first place in any individual stages. Nikolaev who commenced his racing career as a mechanic was first while his team mates Ayrat Mardeev and Andrey Karginov came in second and third consecutively.
South African Giniel de Villiers also put up an impressive performance and can in second place in buggy events finishing 43 minutes behind defending champion Stephane Peterhansel in a Toyota Hilux. Things were not as promising for the Qatar Red Bull Rally Team who had to step out of the competition early.
Cyril Despres had this to say, “Of course every win at the Dakar is special but this one stands out for me because it is the first time I have been able to defend my title. Winning the Dakar two years in a row is rare and nobody has done it since Fabrizio Meoni ten years ago.”
Eduard Nikolaev had this to say, “All I have been concentrated on since we arrived in South America was fighting minute by minute over every kilometre I drove in our truck. To come out of that after such an intense fifteen days with the victory is something that I simply can’t put into words. It’s simply incredible and I’m on cloud nine right now.” he said.
Al-Attiyah had this to say, “Despite having such a short period of time to prepare we still managed to win five of the eight stages we completed. What we achieved at the 2013 Dakar with the Qatar Red Bull Rally Team was really remarkable and I’m so proud to have been a part of it.”