One of the toughest races in the world lived up to its reputation this year, with only 216 of its 420 competitors making it to the end. For the winners, nothing could be better than seeing the end of Stage 13.
As for the winners, Mini driver Nasser Al-Attiyah finished first out of all the cars in their Qatar Rally Team All4 Racing Mini. Minis were four of the top five cars, with only the Toyota Hilux of Giniel De Villiers coming in second to break up Mini's streak of pwnage. Al-Attiyah had this to say about his second win at Dakar:
I'm delighted I've won the Dakar! I remember that the finish was also in Baradero in 2011, so it's a really special moment for me. It's fantastic because we've dominated the race from the beginning and were able to control the rally throughout. I've got lots of people to thank for this. I came to the Dakar in top-notch form, both physically and mentally. Then, we managed to do our job day after day. It's fantastic. Now I want to win even more.
Kamaz took a 1-2-3 win in the truck class, completely dominating once again. Aryat Mardeev drove the winning Kamaz to victory.
Marc Coma rode a KTM to his fifth Dakar win in bikes. Like Kamaz and Mini, KTM is apparently the bike to have. Only the second place finisher out of the top 8 was riding something else: Paulo Goncalves, on a Honda.
Finally, of the quad classes, Rafal Sonik took first out of all the quads atop a Yamaha. Yamahas were the entire top five in quads except the third-place-winning Honda of Walter Nosiglia. Interestingly, Sonik and the others are in a 2WD, 0 to 750cc quad class that is faster than its 4WD counterpart. Sebastian Palma finished first in the all-Can-Am 0 to 900 cc 4WD class. Palma finished seventh out of all the quads, a full ten hours behind Sonik.
Clearly, there's a marque to have in each group at the Dakar.
The full results can be found here if you're interested in the individual class breakdown.
Remember Robby Gordon's custom-built beast, the HST Gordini? It finally had its moment of glory, coming in first for the final stage. Congratulations, Robby. Gordon finished 19th overall out of all the cars, but that's the important part: at least he finished this year. Of the two entries in the class meant for cars that conform to SCORE regulations, Gordon was first.
Congratulations to all the teams who made it through to the finish line.
Photo credit: Dakar Rally