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Robby Gordon Q&A – 2013 Dakar Rally

Race-Dezert.com recently sat down with Robby Gordon to talk about what’s in store for the 2013 Dakar Rally, as well as his plans for the future.  Robby and his navigator Kellon Walch will tackle more than 8000 Km / 4970 Mi from Peru through Argentina and ending in Santiago, Chile in one of the most challenging off road events in the world January 5th – 20th 2013.

Robby Gordon 2013 Dakar Rally Q&A

Robby Gordon 2013 Dakar Rally Q&A

RDC: Do you think you are going to be competitive for the overall win in the 2013 Dakar Rally?

Robby: If you look at last year we won half of the specials.  We had one mechanical that cost us a bunch of time.  If you take that mechanical out of the equation there’s no reason we won’t compete for the overall.

RDC: You only have one vehicle this year, why is that?  Could it be a disadvantage for this race?

Robby: Well if I am going to base it off of last year I think it will be an advantage because we would have personally won three or four more specials if I didn’t pull Nasser out of the mud or pulled him through finishes because he over-reved the engine and popped the alternator belt off of it.  You know, if we didn’t help him for the first three days we would have won every special right in the beginning as well.  I would like to run two cars, it’s good for business, but as far as the performance side of it I’m going to say last time was a total distraction.

Robby Gordon’s Speed Energy Hummer Ready For The 2013 Dakar Rally

RDC: With last years issues with the ASO do you feel there are any bad vibes with them going into this rally that could cause any issues?

Robby: I don’t foresee any issues, the ASO has been to our facility and we’ve had numerous conversations with them.  Obviously last years last year… you know they can still say whatever they want but our stuff was approved prior to the rally starting.  We shared our whole installation.  The difference between this year and last year is this system doesn’t have a vacuum off the engine.  It’s not a big deal.  If you look at some of Peterhansel’s comments, and some of these other comments out there, the day we disconnected the system we beat them by 13-14 minutes, so I don’t see the inflation process going into the engine hurting our performance at all.  We worked on our normal deflation system that deflates into the air and we’ve got that system working better than the vacuum deflation from last year so we feel we’ve learned from that.  We’ve challenged ourselves and we’ve tested it at NORRA, we tested every problem we had.  We had zero mechanical issues at the NORRA rally.  We tested the parts in Baja, we tested on a sportsman buggy, we have been putting allot of miles on them.

RDC: Speaking of NORRA, do you see the NORRA Mexican 1000 as a similar style event to Dakar with the multiple day format?

Robby: Dakar is so much more difficult than anything we do.  I just don’t think you can relate NORRA to it.  NORRA was a lot of fun, the guys did a great job promoting the rally, nothing against them.  With Dakar, in some sections they will just tell you to turn left and go off road into the bushes for fifty miles.  The challenge is much more difficult.  And I’m sure Mark McMillin or anyone else that’s done the rally would concur with that.  And if you’re one of the first cars on the road you are making trail which makes it even harder.

RDC: What advice would you give to other Americans who want to race Dakar?

Robby: I welcome the challenge.  The biggest thing is the logistics challenge to just be able to do it.  People have been all over Race-Dezert.com talking about it and they have no idea what it takes to be honest with you.  I hear people talking about how a Trophy Truck program at the Baja 1000 is equal to a Dakar, that makes me laugh.  Because it would really be three seasons of Baja to equal the distance of one Dakar.

Robby Gordon - Speed Energy Hummer

RDC: What is the toughest race in the world, Dakar or the Baja peninsula run?

Robby: The Baja peninsula run is a breeze.  It is because you get to work on your car throughout the race. At Dakar you don’t get any pit support during the race. You’re on your own, there’s no pit area you come cruising into where the guys change your tires or give you another spare.  You’ve got to cary enough equipment on the car to compete every day without support.  So it would be like running the Baja 500 every day with no support, no pit stops, no support at all, and in the sand.  You know, I think Damen Jeffries and Nasser are really going to get a wide awakening this year on what it really takes to do Dakar.

RDC: Can you explain the classes or categories that run the Dakar?

Robby: You race for the overall together, the only thing that really matters is the overall.  We race against Peterhansel for the overall, we’re racing against Nasser even though it’s a 2wd.  But there’s four categories; the motorcycles, quads, T1 is a production based car and there’s the unlimited class, like SCORE should be just one big unlimited class and then there is the big truck class.  So there isn’t a bunch of different classes at this thing.  I don’t see Dakar creating any new classes like they have in off-road desert racing. I think we have too many classes here in America.  I think it should be simplified like the Dakar.

RDC: What are your long term plans for Dakar beyond this year?

Robby: (Robby laughs…)  Well I would like to run an ad on your classifieds because you can buy my whole team. RDC: You can buy your whole team???  Robby: Yeah the team is available. RDC: So I’m guessing you will be focusing on Stadium Super Trucks in the future?  Robby: Well we’ve obviously competed in the Dakar. And I think it’s time to shift our focus.  We are in a position to win the Dakar, we need to capitalize on all the hard work we put in the last seven years.  This will be eight years for me total, one year with VW and seven as a race team.  And I think it’s time to look at other stuff.

I told Kevin to put one of the Hummers on Race-Dezert.com, so one can go up for sale now, and I would be willing to rent that same car as well. The rental for the car and the rally would be 1.5 million dollars, and the price of the car is one million dollars.  If you want to buy the team, you can write a hefty check for five million bucks and you can take everything.
(See the classified ad here)

RDC: What do you think it would take to attract more international teams to race in America and Baja?

Robby: I honestly don’t know…  I do know but I don’t want to tell you….  When we race for a few bucks we’re kidding ourselves right?  Legitimize it.  Television, prize money, notoriety, etc… Off-Road Racing is awesome and that’s what we’re trying to do with our stadium truck deal. Off-Road Racing in America is the best kept secret in motorsports.  Our goal with SST is to give people an opportunity to learn about Off-Road.

As far as Stadium Super Trucks we are progressing forward rapidly.  Chassis number fifteen is complete. We’ve pretty much got fifteen rollers around the facility here.  Tickets are out for sale for the first few events. And we’re working hard on getting all the event tickets up by Christmas, and April 6th in Phoenix is going to be awesome.

We’ve not only been testing on off road tracks, but we’ve also been testing out some of our metal jump to asphalt stuff for Long Beach.

You keep hearing stuff like is this really going to happen… It’s on like donkey kong.

 

The Dakar Rally takes place January 5-20th 2013.  Stay tuned to Race-Dezert.com for complete coverage of the event.

Comments

21 comments on “Robby Gordon Q&A – 2013 Dakar Rally
  1. Bob Carroll says:

    On the statement about one mechanical you mean if you didn’t blow it and run the car off a cliff and make the crew completely rebuild the car you would have won it take some credit for some of your downfalls .

    • R Gordon says:

      With regards to the mechanical I was talking about a CV boot failure. And the Cv was on a different day than the cliff incident and we lost about 3 hours with the cv.

      In in regards to driving off a cliff we did and it was the scariest thing that I have ever done, Johnny Cambell and myself looked at each other and said wow that was big. And were alive. Not to make excuses but racing the Dakar is different than racing in America, we really don’t know what’s on the other side of every corner because we only get the road book after the special from the day before. And the competition there is fierce, ther are some fast teams and drivers.

      Lets get the facts straight, the cliff was not where we broke both right side tires at the same time. We were trying to pass Peterhansel and clipped a rock on the right side of the track and got double flats and that’s where the damage to the bottom of the car came from. So someone again has bad facts. On this special where we talk About working all night, well that’s what this is and it’s the Dakar. We only lost 14 minutes on this day.

      For 2013 we have a great Groupe of guys going and I doubt they will complain about working all night because this is-the most challenging race in the world and we are ready for the Challenge. Gas On.

    • Mark Stacy says:

      Bob Carroll, You’ve always been a class act. Go kick some ASS! Have fun ..Mark Stacy.

  2. miguelito says:

    if robby gordon sells his hummer to me i would put a wrap on that thing and race it ” i got a hummer from robby gordon ” on the wrap. to funny

  3. shane says:

    Be pretty sweet to see an American win. If Robby dont and doesnt go for it again who is is really going to stand a chance. Its like an American winning F1 anymore.

  4. shane says:

    on that note the only other way to give US drivers credibility internationally is SST world wide with the famous US drivers. And it would work. Dubai, Japan, Australia,

  5. arqangel67 says:

    Bob Carroll is a HATER!!!! LMAO!!!

  6. Alex Jomarron says:

    THIS is the year! Can’t wait to see the Orange fly! Good luck to Campbell on the Honda too! He downplays, but he can get a podium spot! GO USA!

  7. arqangel67 says:

    Campbell is the king of Baja and soon to be South America.

  8. Mark Stacy says:

    HAHAHAHA, Mini’s are for girls.. Time to get some G..

  9. paul says:

    Going to Dakar is a chance of a life time. If you have to work all night then so be it. put up or shut up!

  10. RGM fan says:

    I totally agree with Gordon on Baja being a breeze.South America and that format of competition is much more demanding .But on that note we all need to take a look at what Dakar was when it was in Africa .No hotels for the drivers to escape to no commercial support for the crew like the everyday auto parts store. This year I think the driver to watch is not Nasser or Peterhansel but Eric Vigouroux. He is such a Dakar vet having run the real Dakar on home built quads . And the bond that he has formed with his co driver Alex is unmatched .He may have a disadvantage with his choice of vehicles in the dunes but we all remember the videos of Robby tearing it up on Glamis with his old trophy truck .

    • MickyB says:

      Frankly, Robby is fav for the overall with a strong shout for the Toyota of De Villiers (consistent driver and well developed vehicle). Awesome to see a Vigouroux shout out too. I don’t see it but he did just win the Morrocan Rally, which is a huge race, but there were some big names absent. I think you’re right to tip him to make some noise, but this race is so much longer and more varied than the Morrocan Rally for a limited resource team to take on.

  11. Jimmy says:

    You guys are loosing site of the original post it said nothing about working all night . It was more about accountability .

  12. i hope Gordon dosent run 2013 Dakar he thinks its all about him. i would like to see other drivers and not cry baby.

  13. Erick Alfaro says:

    Robby dakar2013 is your, I am going to follow you, my favorite teem and my number one driver, keep your spirit, the spirit of the champion.!!!

  14. BOB says:

    Robby’s 2012 Dakar’s Famous LAST WORDS What, Me Disqualified?
    YOU CAN KISS MY ASS!!! GOOD LUCK RG!!! Bring home a WIN!!!

  15. MickyB says:

    I’m glad Robby brought up the fact of how hamstrung he was due to Nasser last year. I respected Nasser before-hand but ditching the team (at least that’s what it sounded like) like he did after Robby got him the ride last minute and ruined his own race to help out his team-mate. I’m sure the Qatar money was the tempting factor in getting him in the ride, but I am really happy to see the solo approach being taken as (unless your breaking stuff every 2 seconds) I see as a real advantage in this race… no distractions or obligations.

    It’s a shame that it’s sounding like this is going to be his last kick at the can due to the new series he’ll be running, but I give him massive props for taking on the Dakar, all while no setting up stuff for a new series. I expect him to be a little high-sting and so there should be some vintage RG blow-ups on the broadcasts haha. Still, I hope he gets the win, gets the energy drink brand out there a bit

  16. MickyB says:

    more. He has been really close, and really does seem to be the only hope of an American winning this race in the cars in the foreseeable future. None the less, just massive respect for a guy doing this with his own team.

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