Today Santiago saw the final parade and the prize-giving ceremony staged on a podium set up downtown as the thirty-fifth edition of the Dakar Rally drew to a close. The parade included all the teams who managed to finish the race that began on the 5th January in Lima, Peru and finally rolled into the Chilean capital some 8000 km (5000 miles) later. Joining the celebrations was the Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain, one of the main protagonists this year. This has been the second official participation in the Dakar for the Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain. The race has been an excellent display of all the work carried out by the squad’s technicians at the Dakar, as well as in the factory in Varese, Italy. A superb effort was made also by the private riders aboard their Husqvarna TE449s who were able to take on and complete this great challenge.
High speeds throughout and a lot navigation made the twelfth stage of the Dakar, from Fiambala – Copiapo a tough one. Joan Barreda proved to be the best of the Husqvarna Team by Speedbrain taking third place on the day, and bringing the team its tenth podium place out of the twelve stages contested so far. Barreda, who led throughout the race made a slight navigational error which dropped him down into third place finishing just three minutes behind winner Verhoeven.
Alessandro Botturi, on the other hand, had a day worth forgetting. After holding seventh place for the first half of the race, the rider lost a lot of time looking for the way point. Botturi finished fourteen minutes behind the leader, but now runs the risk of being penalized with a one hour penalty for failure to pass Way Point 13.
The Dakar got well and truly underway today with Team Husqvarna by Speedbrain in the thick of the action. Joan Barreda, the Spanish rider won the Pisco – Pisco second stage, commanding the 242 km (151 miles) of special test. The stage proved to be really tough, with plenty of opportunities for errors and loss of time. Barreda on his Husqvarna TE449RR set an imposing pace from the start of the special test, coming in more than three minutes ahead of the nearest rival. ‘Gregarious’ Matt Fish put in a fine performance too, managing to finish among the leaders in third place.
Conversely, Goncalves and Botturi lost a lot of time in seach of the correct route some 100 km into the race, as did Viladoms who was the fastest of the three once back on the right track.