Dakar motorsport rally: Support and supply

40 things you need to know about the Dakar Rally

Words: Werner Jessner
Photo: Flavien Duhamel

The Dakar Rally is perhaps the toughest, and most dangerous, motorsport event in the world. Part 4: 10 things you need to know about sleep, support and supply during the Rally

The 39th outing gets underway on January 2 in Asunción, Paraguay. Here’s what you need to know in advanced:

  1. How do I drive at speed and drink?
  2. How do you go to the loo when you’re racing? 
  3. Where do I sleep? 
  4. How am I going to sleep?
  5. Why do I have to get up at 4am?
  6. What’s the food like?
  7. What do I wear?
  8. Who’s going to do my laundry? 
  9. Where do I wash?
  10. What do the doctors treat?
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1. How do I drive at speed and drink?

For the daytime we recommend a hydration pack with a solution of water, mineral salts, electrolytes and dissolved energy gels. The drivers can just hang the pack on the backrest.

Going to the loo while racing the Dakar
2. How do you go to the loo when you’re racing? 

It depends on how desperate you are. Remember that you’re a competitive driver, not an overalls model. The good news is that you sweat a lot of liquid out anyway.

3. Where do I sleep? 

Bivouac Rule 1: Rocky ground for your pop-up tent is better than a bed an hour’s drive away. 
Rule 2: Avoid hotspots like toilets, showers and food distribution centres. 
Rule 3: Avoid big teams as they attract a lot of attention. 
Rule 4: Avoid gentlemen drivers/riders as they often spend the night fettling their hard-pressed charges. 
Rule 5: Avoid generators. 
Rule 6: Avoid jolly people. 
Rule 7: Basically, avoid everyone.

Bivouac Rules: Avoid everyone

© youtube // Sheldon Thomson

4. How am I going to sleep?

Badly.

5. Why do I have to get up at 4am?

Because you won’t cover nigh-on 8,500km in just two weeks otherwise.

4am in the morning at the Dakar Rally

Getting up early is the only way to make the 8,500km in two weeks

© ASO/ @World/ A Lavadinho/ A Vialatte

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6. What’s the food like?

There’s pasta, rice, vegetables, meat and fish, plus dessert and salad. There’s also a packed lunch with tinned foods, plus water and soft drinks.

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7. What do I wear?

Good question. You’ll have to cope with temperatures from freezing to +40˚C. Jackets with a good inner lining and body-warmers provide excellent protection against cold. You’re going to sweat whatever.

drying clothes

KTM motorcycle rider Wessel Bosman of South Africa hangs out hist clothes to dry at the in the Dakar Rally 2016 bivouac

© Marcos Brindicci / Reuters

8. Who’s going to do my laundry? 

No one.

9. Where do I wash?

Like the Peugeot 3008 DKR, a marked improvement on the winning 2008 DKR from last year. The regulations favour rear-wheel drive, so Peugeot have dispensed with all-wheel drive. Air to the twin-turbo diesel engine is restricted, but it still generates 340hp and can reach speeds of 200kph. At 46cm, the 3008 DKR’s springs are so big that in theory it could drive over an armchair and the drivers wouldn’t feel it. It takes seconds to get the spare wheels out in case of a breakdown, and the car is lighter and better-balanced than in 2016. It all looks good for a successful title defence.

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10. What do the doctors treat?

Altitude sickness, diarrhoea, grazes, bruises. Real hard nuts – such as Chris Birch in 2012 – even make it through to the end of the race with broken bones, in his case it was a broken ankle.


Red Bull TV and redbull.com will bring you spectacular footage… LIVE from January 2-14

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01 2017 The Red Bulletin

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