One of the most gruelling and challenging motorsport events in the world, the Dakar Rally is an unparalleled event for off-road drivers. The world’s leading competitors go up against amateur competitors, for whom the race is often the culmination of their dreams and who come to take up the challenge, and in 2015 there are more than 600 entrants all bidding for glory!
The 2015 edition will run from 3-17 January across Argentina, Bolivia and Chile and will include the largest ever number of Motul-supported entries: 51 covering all four main categories – bike, quad, car and truck. The vehicles due to take the start of the rally will go on to cover 9,000 kilometres in South America, with the added trial in 2015 of marathon stages, where drivers cannot use their assistance teams. The drivers of cars and trucks, who have not taken part in a marathon stage since 2005, will have to tackle this additional difficulty and spend the night in a closed area where only help between competitors, not mechanics, is authorised. The reliability and technical excellence of the lubricants used will be even more critical.
The Dakar is the world’s greatest rally raid adventure and there is no room for any mechanical weakness. Motul has proven technical reliability in this arena – in both the searing heat of the desert to the icy cold of the mountains – and its technical partners will be using specially adapted lubricants and coolants from its Motorsport Line (Auto) and Factory Line (Moto), particularly from the 300V range for high performance and maximum protection. The terrain, climate and endurance conditions endured by the Dakar’s competitors can be punishing, and offer the international lubricant company an excellent living laboratory for its products.
Headlining the Motul line-up is the factory HRC Rally team who is returning to the motorcycle category of the Dakar with an exciting roster of riders. A five-time Dakar winner in the past, the Honda HRC squad will field a five-strong international rider line up: 2013 World Cross Country Rally Champion Paulo Goncalves, Helder Rodriguez from Portugal, 13-time Women’s Trials World Champion and 10-time Women’s Trials European Champion in Outdoor Motorcycle Trials, factory rider Laia Sanz, the very rapid Spaniard Joan “bang bang” Barreda, and HRC newcomer Jeremias Israel Esquerre of Chile.
Also in the motorcycle class, and receiving support from Motul, are entries from teams representing Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Congo, Estonia, France, Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Romania and Spain.
The largest representation of Motul-supported teams is in the Cars category and will include Motul’s newest Dakar partner, Toyota Overdrive, an official Toyota team. The Belgian squad is fielding no fewer than ten entries and includes in its line-up of runners and riders former event winner Giniel de Villiers of South Africa. Another factory team is Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body, a subsidiary of the Japanese automotive giant which manufactures the Land Cruiser in Japan. Motul has been the long-time lubricant partner to Toyota Auto Body who is a multiple champion in the T2 category.
With two machines entered in the T3 category, all eyes will be on the Xtreme Plus Polaris Factory Team which goes into the 2015 Dakar as a 2014 class champion.
Of special significance to Motul will be the 11 entries from MD Rallye Sport, a team which has had a technical partnership with the lubricant specialist for many years. In 2015 it will be renamed “Écurie du Cœur” in recognition of its partnership with the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque – the charitable cardiac surgery association – which enables children with heart malformations to undergo surgery in France when they lack the technical and financial means to be cared for in their countries of origin.
Motul’s own charitable foundation, the Fondation Motul Corazon, is a patron of the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque, and the presence of Porsche factory LMP1 endurance driver and Pike’s Peak champion, Romain Dumas, will attract an enormous amount of attention for this very worthwhile cause.
The competition will undoubtedly be as intense as ever, and both men and machines will be tested to the limit. Motul’s proven reliability and endurance will be a crucial part in these teams’ quest for success.