Skip to comments.American (Robby)Gordon makes Dakar Rally history
Posted on 12/31/2004 6:02:08 PM PST by nypokerface
BARCELONA, Spain (AFP) - America's Robby Gordon, driving a Volkswagen, won the first stage of the Dakar rally, a 6km super special, on the Castelldefels beach near Barcelona.
It was a first ever victory by an American in the car category of the rally. He clocked 4min 20.2sec to beat Japan's Mitsubishi driver Hiroshi Masuoka, the winner in 2002 and 2003, by 2.7sec and South Africa's Giniel De Villiers, in a Nissan, by 3.5sec.
"Really it wasn't an easy stage at all, because of the softness of the sand on the course, especially after the jumps," said Gordon, a former NASCAR and Champ Car driver in the United States.
"But, I achieved good jump landings, and everything went well. I was very excited before the start, and it was a great moment with all the spectators. The car is really wonderful, and most importantly, all the team has welcomed me in a fantastic way. Its a great opportunity for me to be here, and I know it."
Masuoka said he was faced with an added problem after falling victim to thieves on the eve of the race.
"On this kind of stage, you have everything to lose, especially with the high bumps, very sharp and tricky. Moreover, someone stole my helmet last night, and the new one wasn't perfectly adapted to me," said the Japanese driver.
"But I think this problem will be sorted out for the next stage in Granada."
Former world rally champion Colin McRae finished in eighth place in a Nissan with defending champion Stephane Peterhansel, in a Mitsubushi, in ninth place.
"This stage was a little bit boring with many uninteresting bumps because they are too high," said Peterhansel.
"We had to brake before each bump. Added to that, the sand was so soft, that we couldn't drive really fast, only an average of 70 km/h. That was very frustrating."
France's David Fretigne, riding a Yamaha, won the motorbike race, clocking 4min 11.6sec to edge out KTM riders Cyril Despres of France by 8.1sec and Dutchman Eric Verhoef by 13sec.
"It was a clean and good special," said Fretigne.
"My goal was not to fall. The sand was really soft, but I didn't make any mistakes."
Following this special stage, the competitors must complete a 17km untimed section back to Barcelona from where they will start Saturday's 920km, second stage to Granada in the south.
In total, 686 vehicles, with 463 racing, are officially taking part in this 27th edition of the rally. There are 164 cars, 230 motorbikes, including six quads and a side-car, and 69 lorries competing, plus 223 support vehicles.
The 8,956km, 16-stage event goes through Spain, Morocco, Mauritania and Mali before finishing in Senegal capital city Dakar on January 16.
Robby Gordon sucks!
In a VW no less. The potheads are gonna eat this up :-)
Robbie Gordon might suck, but the Dakar rally is about 10 times harder and more interesting than the Daytona 500. It's like 10 Baja 1000s run end to end. Unlike the Daytona there is not busy-body sanctioning organization handicapping cars to keep the race even. The Sahara has a way of weeding out those that are not worthy.
Humf, comparing the Dakar Rally to Euro Road Racing is like comparing the Indy 500 to go-carts.
OK. OK. OK. You guys win. Robby Gordon is a good driver. But he still hasn't done anything in NASCAR. Maybe R.Gordon will do better with his own NASCAR team this year.
With no teammates to wreck,Robbie just might win!
Wait a minute, don't put words in my mouth.
I don't give a whit for Gordon. With any luck he'll get lost in the Sahara.
But the Dakar...that's a race!
Robbie Gordon is a talented driver, but doesn't play well with others. I hope he wins here, but I'll still boo him when he races NASCAR races.
Looks like he found a Sand Box to his liking. Don't give him any sharp toys...
Actually, that's pretty awesome stuff.
>>"We had to brake before each bump. Added to that, the sand was so soft, that we couldn't drive really fast, only an average of 70 km/h. That was very frustrating."<<
Geez that's tough!
Thanks for the ping.
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