Could The Dakar Rally 2014 possibly get more intense?  Oh yes and more!  Stage 10 had the competitors hurtling over great dunes and dodging great rocks.  There were a number of notable withdrawals like #22 Alain Duclos after an engine failure, #303 Carlos Sainz and Timo Gottschalk who suffered from a crash, and the USA’s #318 BJ Baldwin and Quinn Cody who had a potentially catastrophic fuel situation on their hands.  The term “better safe than sorry” is gospel in the Dakar Rally, and there’s no shame in bowing out in order to regroup and get ready for the next one.  We can’t wait to see them again!

#304 Nani Roma and Michel Perin are hunted men.  Their lead is about two minutes ahead of #300 Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret.  It’s not looking good for the yellow Mini at all.  Roma and Peterhansel have been sharing a motorhome together in the bivouac.  We wonder what they talk about after a day of racing like this.  #301 Nasser Al-Attiyah and Lucas Cruz won the day and are now firmly in third place.  Toyota driver #302 Giniel De Villiers is determined to spoil the Mini whitewash again.  With the help of his German co-driver, Dirk Von Zitzewitz, they’ve managed to stay just ahead of #307 Orlando Terranova and Paulo Fiúza.  Little penalties have caused problems for this duo in recent stages and they are more than a threat to squeeze the South African out of a podium finish.  While these guys are fighting for the top three spots, others are struggling to break into the top 20 like #305 Robby Gordon and Kellon Walch.  They seem to have a handle on the vapor lock problems that crippled their “Gordini” early in the race.  Now the lone American car competing, they were twentieth to arrive at Antofagasta and their overall position in 23rd.

Dakar Rally 2014 Stage 10
“It wasn’t an easy day. It was a long day. Nothing’s certain yet. We’ve still got to tackle the dunes of Copiapó. The day after that will be tough too. We’ve still got very difficult days ahead, anything can happen. We’ll see. Sure, everything’s gone well so far, but anything can happen. The slightest mistake can cost you loads of time.” – #3 Joan Barreda Bort (PHOTO: FREDERIC LE FLOCH / DPPI)

If you think #2 Marc Coma is enjoying his 44+ minute lead, you’d be quite wrong.  The Spaniard is very cautious, as is his closest competitor and former teammate #3 Joan Barreda Bort.  Their epic KTM vs Honda battle has enthralled fans.  Fans from around the world are keeping tabs on Bort and his Portuguese comrade #7 Helder Rodrigues.  Their 1-2 finish was quite impressive.  The next two spots went to the Yamaha riders, #1 Cyril Despres and #6 Olivier Pain.  I had expected to see a big battle between Despres and Faria, where the latter was going to prove that he was more than just a support rider to the champion.  Who would have guessed we would see a similar situation but with Coma and Bort instead?  Another Honda rider, #050 Laia Sanz had a terrible day finishing 65th and slipping down to 19th overall.  She’s definitely got her work cut out for her.  The lone American rider #92 Mike Johnson is 76th overall and finished the stage 66th.  His goal is to finish the race, and we certainly hope he accomplishes that.

The big news with trucks is that #501 Gérard De Rooy saw his lead get even smaller than the day before.  Now he’s only about eight minutes ahead of #506 Andrey Karginov.  Current champion #500 Eduard Nikolaev is much further behind.  #504 Ales Loprais took today’s stage, grabbing the fourth overall position.  It would be impossible for the Czech to catch Nikolaev but at this time, the fight for the podium is between the Kamaz Master and Iveco teams.  Stage 11 from Antofagasta to El Salvador, will be held on January 16, 2014.  Our recap will be published once reliable sources in South America report in.  You can also get live updates with The Dakar Rally official mobile apps and official social media channels:


Dakar Rally 2014 Stage 10
Traffic on a sand dune? It must be the Dakar. © Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool
Dakar Rally 2014 Stage 10
Team HRC #7 Helder Rodrigues is dwarfed by the sand dunes. (Photo Credit: Frederic Le Floch/DPPI)
Dakar Rally 2014 Stage 10
Dakar Rally officials work hard to make sure everything runs smoothly. (Photo Credit: Francois Flamand/DPPI)