|Tomorrow it will be time for the proper race to begin and a crowd is gathering as Lima is starting to live the Dakar experience. On the seafront, next to the Magdalena beach, the Harbour Area is filling up and feeling like a bivouac.Team HRC was among the firsts to pass successfully the technical and administrative scruteneering. All the technical and logistics details have been followed with special care: from the meticulous preparation of the bikes and the assistance vehicles, to the riders training, to the strong image that characterizes the Team HRC working area made of 13 vehicles and an experienced crew of 36 people representing 11 different nationalities.
The wait is over for the Honda factory team that returns on the Dakar after 24 years and an overall record of 5 victories in 9 events (1981-89).
Team HRC will compete the 35th edition of the Dakar with Portuguese Helder Rodrigues, Argentinian Javier Pizzolito and American Johnny Campbell, instead of the original 5-rider line up due to the incidents to Brazilian Felipe Zanol and Brit Sam Sunderland during the last pre-Dakar test, that took place in the Mojave Desert in California at the beginning of December. While the two injured riders continue their recovery, the team is very motivated to tackle the world’s toughest off road competition also for the two team mates that had to withdraw.
Helder Rodrigues: “I feel well and I’m very motivated to do a great race for Honda and the Team. We have been working very hard and the machine has made a huge progress in just 6 months of work. Compared to Morocco, my CRF 450 Rally has improved a lot in terms of engine power, suspensions and chassis. I’m focused on my race and after two podium finishes in the last two Dakar editions my target is to improve my result”.
Javier Pizzolito: “I’m very happy with the machine, on the 1st of January we did the final shakedown of the bike and the last specs we used in the US tests worked very well in Peru. I was impressed by the logistics and the organization of the team. The atmosphere in the team is very good and I hope we can have a good Dakar as a team. This is my 4th Dakar and I’m very motivated. I will help Helder to fight for the first position and I will try to put my CRF 450Rally as much on top of the standing as possible”.
Johnny Campbell: “I have tested the bike a lot since the last US test, the machine has made a good progress as a whole package (chassis, engine, suspension,) and I’m very comfortable with my CRF 450Rally. I’m focused and excited to be part of Team HRC on this important project”.
Katsumi Yamzaki: “After Morocco Rally, where the machine was at 70% of development, we focused on getting more power and having a good durability. We made a lot of modifications to the aerodynamics and many other details in order to improve the machine drivability but also engine power. Now the machine is ready to compete on the Dakar rally and we are all very excited with this new adventure. Unfortunately Felipe and Sam won’t be able to compete due to the injures in the last US test, but they are part of the team and we will tackle the Dakar as a team with Helder, Javier and Johnny supported by an experienced staff made of 36 people also for them. Team work is the key for such a long and demanding Rally and we will fight for the win”.
Dakar 2013: the route
Jan 5 – Stage 1: Lima (Peru) – Pisco – total distance 263 km: 250 km liaison and 13 km special
Jan 6 – Stage 2: Pisco – Pisco (loop) total distance 327 km: 85 km liaison; 242 km special
Jan 7 – Stage 3: Pisco – Nazca – total distance 343 km: 100 km liaison; 243 km special
Jan 8 – Stage 4: Nazca – Arequipa – total distance 718 km: 429 km liaison; 289 special
Jan 9 – Stage 5: Arequipa – Arica – total distance 411 km: 275 km liaison; 136 km special
Jan 10– Stage 6: Arica – Calama – Total distance 767 km: 313 km liaison; 454 km special
Jan 11 – Stage 7: Calama – Salta (rally enters Argentina) – total distance 806 km: 586 km liaison; 220 km special
Jan 12 – Stage 8: Salta – Tucuman – total distance 738 km: 247 liaison; 491 km special
Jan 13: rest day in Tucuman, Argentina
Jan 14 – Stage 9: Tucuman – Cordoba – total distance 852 km: 259 km liaison; 593 km special
Jan 15 – Stage 10: Cordoba – La Rioja – total distance 636 km: 279 km liaison; 357 km special
Jan 16 – Stage 11: La Rioja – Fiambala – total distance 483 km: 262 km liaison; 221 km special
Jan 17 – Stage 12: Fiambala – Copiaco (rally enters Chile) – total distance 715 km: 396 km liaison; 319 km special
Jan 18 – Stage 13: Copiaco – La Serena – total distance 735 km: 294 km liaison; 441 km special
Jan 19 – Stage 14: La Serena – Santiago– total distance 630 km: 502 liaison; 128 km special.
Jan 20 –Closing ceremony Santiago
Dakar 2013 key data
Total route: 8432 km (5,239.4 miles)
Total timed specials: 4146 km (2,576 miles)
Longest distance in a single day: 852 km (Stage 9)
Shortest distance in a single day: 250 km (Stage 1)
Highest point of altitude: 4800 m