• Forum membership has its advantages....

2018 Dakar Predictions

Dirty Harry

Well-Known Member
#1
We are getting pretty close to the 2018 edition of the Dakar! So who do you think will win? I'll throw some guesses out there to get us started.

Cars-
I think that this is the year for Loeb. He will follow his teammates in the dunes in Peru, and then can put some time on them in the more rally-like stages towards the end in Argentina. Peterhansel and Al-Attiyah will round out the podium (not that risky of a bet I realize).

Dark Horse- Look for Bryce Menzies and Mikko Hirvonen to put pressure on the Peugeots in their 2WD X-Raid cars. I expect them to be fast, but have some teething issues.

Bikes-
I feel like bikes are wide open ever since Depres moved to four wheels and Marc Coma started working for ASO. Defending champ Sam Sutherland has been fast, but not always consistent, 2015 winner Toby Price is back from injury, Joan Barreda Bort is recovering from an injury as well. I would like to see someone NOT on a KTM win, maybe Paulo Goncalves on his Honda?

Dark Horse- Andrew Short has done a few rallies now and is a super strong motocross rider, it will be interesting to see how he does at Dakar.

Trucks-
De Rooy has said he is not competing this year so it is hard to imagine anyone stopping Nikolaev and the Kamaz-Master team.

Dark Horse- I am a longtime Toyota fan and I would love to see Teruhito Sugawara and the Hino team win Dakar. They came in 8th in the truck class last year so it isn't entirely out of the question.

So who are your picks?
 

Chris Tobin

Well-Known Member
#2
I'll take yours Harry!!! jajaja seriously though I just hope for a good race and good competition among many teams and drivers not a monopoly as has happened over the past several years...

I really miss Robby being there though!!! I wonder if he has given it up for good, or if he will ever come back and try it again????
 

TMorford

Well-Known Member
#3
not a monopoly as has happened over the past several decades...
Fixed that for ya... It will be interesting to see the power struggle between Toyota and Mini (maybe other manufacturers?) after the Pugs leave.

Agree with DH on the car prediction for the most part. In terms of the bikes I think Price will be at the top but my dark horse pick would be Brabec over Short just because of Dakar experience.
 

GEO_DXB

Well-Known Member
#4
Not sure about cars, but say Peterhansel for the win, Nasser to be top behind Peugeots. Akira Miura to take T2 (Mitsuhashi not there this year so...)

Quads - will be a good fight between Karyakin, Casale and Sonik. Kees Koolen and Mahacek taking whats left if any of the first 3 fail and good set of South Americans who can use mistakes and mechanical issues of leaders.

In SSV I think whatever South Racing brings out with their CanAms will be top SSVs and expect Reinaldo Varela to be on top (he switched from cars)

Trucks - no chance for Sugawara. His truck is under 10L so smaller category. But its going to be KAMAZ vs. Villagra, Van den Brink, Van Genugten, Tatras and MAZ. Expect a stage win for MAZ. And Kadshai and Admony are in a truck this year instead of their old car.
 

Chris Tobin

Well-Known Member
#5
What is Nasser driving this year? Do you think he will finish?

Do you think the 2WD Mini Bugglys will finish? I hope Bryce does well and wants to come back rather than struggle or fall prey to team orders and pull away forever...
 

Dirty Harry

Well-Known Member
#7
What is Nasser driving this year? Do you think he will finish?

Do you think the 2WD Mini Bugglys will finish? I hope Bryce does well and wants to come back rather than struggle or fall prey to team orders and pull away forever...
I believe Nasser is driving a Hilux again this year. I expect him to finish towards the front of the field, but behind at least one of the Peugeots.

As for the 2WD Minis, it is anyone’s guess. When they had the bugly it was definitely a stepchild. But I don’t think that they would put Hirvonnen in a second rate car. I would argue that he is their best driver (I’m not a huge Roma fan).
 

GEO_DXB

Well-Known Member
#9
What is Nasser driving this year? Do you think he will finish?

Do you think the 2WD Mini Bugglys will finish? I hope Bryce does well and wants to come back rather than struggle or fall prey to team orders and pull away forever...
Nasser is in a Gazoo Racing 4WD mid-engined Toyota. If you look up Overdrive instagram there should be a video - engine is basically inside the cabin.

Minis - dont know. All I heard is rumors that these are fast cars. They have tested for about 3 weeks in Morocco. But considering Terranova is in a 4x4 Mini looks like they have plan B...
 

Dirty Harry

Well-Known Member
#10
Minis - dont know. All I heard is rumors that these are fast cars. They have tested for about 3 weeks in Morocco. But considering Terranova is in a 4x4 Mini looks like they have plan B...
I believe Roma and Yazeed are in traditional 4WD Minis as well. I kind of figured that was Plan A and Bryce and Mikko are the guinea pigs.
 

spalind

Well-Known Member
#11
Bryce to DNF at some point in new vehicle but to show top ten speed in a few stages

One of the Pugs to win, hoping for Loeb but suspecting Peterhansel

Nasser to win a few stages but not consistent enough for the overall


In bikes? Sunderland to win, hoping for Toby but I think he's too recently back on the bike to be 100%
 

Dirty Harry

Well-Known Member
#12
I'll take yours Harry!!! jajaja seriously though I just hope for a good race and good competition among many teams and drivers not a monopoly as has happened over the past several years...
I agree that the Mitsubishi/VW/Mini/Peugeot dominance over the years has been lame as well. Would love to see some legit competition between the teams.
 

randy s

Well-Known Member
#13
the usual suspects in no particular order..probably nasser or loeb..menzies and pete will be top mini team finishers with some luck..toby price will make it look easy and once more, a russian with an unpronounceable name driving a kamaz will win in the trucks..who the hell knows? i just wish it would start..best of luck to all..can't wait
 

JDDurfey

Well-Known Member
#14
I would love to see an American on the podium in any class. I don't think it will happen for Bryce though. Dakar takes a few years of experience in my opinion. However, I think that of all the Americans to race Dakar in the car class over the last 10 years Bryce has the best shot of winning. RG is an awesome driver, but I think the toll of running a team and driving and building a new race car platform set him back. I've always felt that RG had his best opportunity at a win while racing for VW because all he had to do was drive and not worry about all the other logistics. I can't imagine the stress that he dealt with during the whole race. Granted, he had people in place to handle everything, but ultimately, it was on his shoulders and he seems to be the kind of guy that has to be involved in every aspect of his team, which is not necessarily a bad thing, except when he needs to be focused on driving. One thing I never understood about RGs program was his navigator choices. It seemed like he was switching every couple years and while he chose some good guys, they didn't have much, if any Dakar experience or training. This is where Bryce has an advantage, I believe. Pete and Bryce have a few rallies under their belt together and I am sure they have been like a sponge at all of them learning everything they can from the Mini camp.

In the bikes, I think Ricky Brabec might have a shot at a podium this year. He was doing really well last year until Honda made the pit mistake costing him an hour penalty. That took the wind out of the sails, but he still managed to win a stage later in the rally. It would be nice to see Short do well, but I doubt a podium is in the works for him yet.

Toby Price is an amazing rider, but he has stated on his FB page that he is still not back to 100% yet. That maybe a little mind trick he is playing, but I will take him at his word for now. If Toby could ride at his previous pace without making any navigation mistakes, I would suggest he will be a front runner the whole race. I don't think Sam Sunderland would have won last year if Toby had not gotten hurt, I am not taking anything away from the fact that Sam rode a smarter race and didn't get hurt though when I say that.

It would be nice to see a manufacturer other than KTM win. There are several Honda guys that have potential. Maybe now that Brabec has been helping them improve their suspension, they won't be riding bucking bulls like you can see in some of the videos. Like the bad crash video of a couple of years ago where the Honda rider got bucked off by a seemingly small bump in a high speed section.
 

Offspring

Well-Known Member
#15
I would love to see an American on the podium in any class. I don't think it will happen for Bryce though. Dakar takes a few years of experience in my opinion. However, I think that of all the Americans to race Dakar in the car class over the last 10 years Bryce has the best shot of winning. RG is an awesome driver, but I think the toll of running a team and driving and building a new race car platform set him back. I've always felt that RG had his best opportunity at a win while racing for VW because all he had to do was drive and not worry about all the other logistics. I can't imagine the stress that he dealt with during the whole race. Granted, he had people in place to handle everything, but ultimately, it was on his shoulders and he seems to be the kind of guy that has to be involved in every aspect of his team, which is not necessarily a bad thing, except when he needs to be focused on driving. One thing I never understood about RGs program was his navigator choices. It seemed like he was switching every couple years and while he chose some good guys, they didn't have much, if any Dakar experience or training. This is where Bryce has an advantage, I believe. Pete and Bryce have a few rallies under their belt together and I am sure they have been like a sponge at all of them learning everything they can from the Mini camp.
IMO the hummer development was going to start paying off then the race changed.
 

Bricoop

Well-Known Member
#17
I would love to see an American on the podium in any class. I don't think it will happen for Bryce though. Dakar takes a few years of experience in my opinion. However, I think that of all the Americans to race Dakar in the car class over the last 10 years Bryce has the best shot of winning. RG is an awesome driver, but I think the toll of running a team and driving and building a new race car platform set him back. I've always felt that RG had his best opportunity at a win while racing for VW because all he had to do was drive and not worry about all the other logistics. I can't imagine the stress that he dealt with during the whole race. Granted, he had people in place to handle everything, but ultimately, it was on his shoulders and he seems to be the kind of guy that has to be involved in every aspect of his team, which is not necessarily a bad thing, except when he needs to be focused on driving. One thing I never understood about RGs program was his navigator choices. It seemed like he was switching every couple years and while he chose some good guys, they didn't have much, if any Dakar experience or training. This is where Bryce has an advantage, I believe. Pete and Bryce have a few rallies under their belt together and I am sure they have been like a sponge at all of them learning everything they can from the Mini camp.

In the bikes, I think Ricky Brabec might have a shot at a podium this year. He was doing really well last year until Honda made the pit mistake costing him an hour penalty. That took the wind out of the sails, but he still managed to win a stage later in the rally. It would be nice to see Short do well, but I doubt a podium is in the works for him yet.

Toby Price is an amazing rider, but he has stated on his FB page that he is still not back to 100% yet. That maybe a little mind trick he is playing, but I will take him at his word for now. If Toby could ride at his previous pace without making any navigation mistakes, I would suggest he will be a front runner the whole race. I don't think Sam Sunderland would have won last year if Toby had not gotten hurt, I am not taking anything away from the fact that Sam rode a smarter race and didn't get hurt though when I say that.

It would be nice to see a manufacturer other than KTM win. There are several Honda guys that have potential. Maybe now that Brabec has been helping them improve their suspension, they won't be riding bucking bulls like you can see in some of the videos. Like the bad crash video of a couple of years ago where the Honda rider got bucked off by a seemingly small bump in a high speed section.
I think it really comes down to what your limited to when not running a full-time rally program. The Gordini clearly turned out to not be the right machine, despite how cool it is. I wouldn't put any of this on the navigators, early navigators had rally experience I believe (Grider & Skilton)...I'm don't recall what rally experience Johnny had, but its hard to say he doesn't have what it takes to be great in the right seat, they spent quite a few years together. I don't know much about Kellon's rally experience, but things seemed to be ok. Not sure if I'm missing anyone else.

A lot of it comes down to testing $$$s. Factory teams budgets are at least 10x times that of the other teams, RG probably had a pretty sizable gap on the privateers in that respect. I do believe the Hummer would have won the rally if it didn't move. RG built the Hummer because he knew the Baja technology was way better than the VW...and it was.
2006 RGM took it on themselves and I think they learned a lot...to put it nicely.
2007-The hummer showed it had some speed and finished 8th. It beat most the VWs, Mitsubishi was the class of the field.
2008-The hummer went on a massive diet and they shaved off hundreds of lbs, if not more. The rally was then cancelled.
2009-3rd-Beaten by the improved VW. Less than 2 hours back, this was their chance to win it.
2010-VW continues their improvement and sweeps the field. Followed by X-raid, then the hummer. Lots of issues with the truck, a year to forget.
2011-FIA deciding the air inflation system was illegal, would have been 5th OA I believe. Mini figured out the best fire road setup and crushed everyone.

The reason I say the Hummer was faster than the VWs is because of 2007-2009. The Hummer beat the VWs in 2007(except for Mark), Those VWs should have been faster than the 2005 VWs. In 2008 they expanded the team, brought on new sponsors and totally changed their approach. The 2008 Hummer was significantly faster than the 2007 Hummer. The 2009 hummer showed it could compete despite being in less "hummer friendly" terrain. By 2009 a whole new vehicle was needed to dominate, which the minis figured out in 2011. I'm sure people can find holes in this (like Sainz's unfortunate 2009 result), but I do think if they were given the same development time that the Hummer > VW, even with a massive $ difference.

I hope Bryce crushes it!
 

Dirty Harry

Well-Known Member
#18
IMO the hummer development was going to start paying off then the race changed.
I don't disagree with you, but RG was really quick to recognize how the race had changed when he built his support vehicles. He would be the first to tell you that the Freightlners would not have been great for Africa, but most of the support route in South America is on improved roads so MAN trucks are not the best choice.

I loved the Humbuggy, but I think that the biggest issue with it was that it was always a side project that got a little better each year, but VW/Mini/Peugeot have teams of people working on improving their vehicles year round. Hard to compete with that.
 

Dirty Harry

Well-Known Member
#19
One thing I never understood about RGs program was his navigator choices. It seemed like he was switching every couple years and while he chose some good guys, they didn't have much, if any Dakar experience or training. This is where Bryce has an advantage, I believe. Pete and Bryce have a few rallies under their belt together and I am sure they have been like a sponge at all of them learning everything they can from the Mini camp.
I completely agree with you. Skilton/Grider/Campbell/Walch are all good navigators, but CHANGING your navigator each year just adds another learning curve to a program that we all agree is outgunned by the factory teams (that is one of the reasons we root for RG!). By contrast, Jean-Paul Cottre has been navigating for Stephane Peterhansel for the past 19 years! You can't help but get better as a team in that amount of time. And unlike the desert racing that we are accustomed to, the navigator is the most important part of the team at Dakar. I mean, Sebastian Loeb is the best driver there, by a pretty wide margin. It is Daniel Elana who has to get up to speed before they will win Dakar.

I feel like Pete probably still has some learning to do also, but I think it is awesome that Bryce is racing with the same guy he races with all the time, and they have been taking this seriously and doing their homework. That sort of long term view should suit them well.
 

spalind

Well-Known Member
#20
I think Bryce is in a new car...it will have teething issues

Brabec is fast but the Hondas have been questionable in reliability


Bryce has participated in more off Dakar rally raids in a few short years than RG did in his career. This helps massively as does his single minded focus on the racing, leaving support to others. No babysitting required. He could surprise in spurts I think but asking a new vehicle to overtake proven platforms is asking a lot.


Sent from my iPhone using race-deZert
 
Top