The 39th outing gets underway on January 2 in Asunción, Paraguay. Here’s what you need to know while racing the Dakar:
- What happens after an accident?
- Who will repair my car if it breaks down?
- Can your co-driver take the wheel?
- What do I do if I hit an animal?
- Why are there so many buttons and switches in the cockpit?
- Where do I fill up?
- How can you lose your way when you have GPS and a roadbook?
- Do I always have to stay on the course?
- Do I need to be at full tilt all the time?
- Are there speeding tickets?
Hopefully you won’t have lost consciousness and you can make the emergency call yourself, which sets the rescue procedure in motion and automatically takes you out of the race. If you’re lying in a ditch somewhere, unconscious and immobile, you have to hope that one of your fellow competitors stumbles across you. The good news is that sportsmen and women come together in extreme situations, and the race will come to a brief halt.
Your co-driver. Provided, that is, you’ve teamed up with him/her based on mechanical engineering abilities as well as navigational skills. Alternatively, repair it with your own fair hands. For the bikers, option B is all you’ve got.
Yes. But he’ll need a race licence.
Because (almost) all the functions have a back-up in case they fail – just like on an aeroplane. A glance inside the Peugeot 3008 DKR reveals two GPS devices, two TripMasters and a stopwatch. The fuses in the centre are exposed so you can quickly get to the bottom of any technical trouble. The most vital source of information for the driver is the central gear indicator. And, yes, there is air-con. It keeps the temperature below 60 degrees.
In addition to local infrastructure, the organisers arrange fuel stops, which normally mean a barrel with a pump or tankers by the side of the road. On the road sections you just go to regular petrol stations.
Because you follow the wrong competitors and it turns out they haven’t chosen the right route. Because you’re exhausted after a week of sleep deprivation, extreme altitude, huge physical exertion and, in all likelihood, diarrhoea. Because you forget to move the roadbook forward electronically. Because you dislodged the GPS mount on your vehicle the last time you crashed. Or possibly because – and this is the worst reason of all – you miss one of the GPS checkpoints, and that means you’re out of the race.
If you know a shortcut, take it. But whatever you do, don’t miss a GPS checkpoint.
No, you can take your time on the sections between the special stages. But you should be at the bivouac in time for the evening driver briefing – usually held at 9 or 10pm – at the latest.
You better believe it! There are severe penalties for speeding infringements on the road sections between the racing stages. Every kilometre over the speed limit counts and is calculated by GPS. How severe are the penalties? Take your regular speeding fine and add a 0 on the end.
Red Bull TV and redbull.com will bring you spectacular footage… LIVE from January 2-14