The 39th edition of the annual Dakar Rally is officially in the books after another great race. Kicking off the new year, 318 vehicles raced across three countries – Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina – from January 2-14 in an effort to complete the course and become the newest Dakar champions.

This year’s course was mapped out over 8800 kilometers (5468 miles), frequently rode at elevations around 3700 kilometers (12,139 feet), and took place across 12 stages in 14 days with one official rest day. Stage 6 and stage 9 were completely cancelled, however, due to conditions resulting from excessive rain and extreme weather, and stages 7 and 8 experienced revised or modified course routes because of the weather conditions as well. Riders tackled a huge variety of conditions over the duration of the race such as changing terrain, extreme dry and heat to slick, wet rides through the mud, and elevation changes that presented challenges of their own. In the end, 69% of the racers that left the starting line in Asuncion, Paraguay would eventually cross the finish line in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with 97 motorcycles, 22 quads and five UTVs among those final finishers.

Motorcycle Report

As the race began, all eyes were on last year’s bike champion, Australian Toby Price, anticipating a hard fight from the rider for back-to-back championships. However, his KTM teammates Sam Sunderland and Matthias Walkner were expected to push hard to claim their place as the respective champions for 2017 as well.

In the early stages of the race, the top finishers fluctuated generously, seeing different riders out in front each day. But the KTM team was right up there in the mix. U.S. rider Ricky Brabec was among the top riders at the beginning, finishing 2nd in stage 1 and 1st in stage 7. Unfortunately for Toby Price, his dreams of consecutive championships came to a painful halt when a heavy crash during stage 4 broke his femur in multiple locations, requiring a helicopter ride to the hospital and surgery in Bolivia to repair the damage. Though the injuries were extensive, Price is expected to make a full recovery. Brabec experienced trouble as well when he suffered some mechanical issues that resulted in a DNF and his retirement from the race for the year during stage 10.

By the end of stage 5, a new leader emerged and began to work to solidify that position over the next seven stages. For Sam Sunderland, consistency was proving to be key. Though he only won one stage, his consistent results began to add up and by the end of the race, he was crowned as champion (the first British racer to win the Dakar) with a 32:00 minute lead over 2nd place, Matthias Walkner. Both Sunderland and Walkner had never before finished the entire Dakar, so the wins were a sweet victory for them both. Gerard Farres Guell of Spain finished out the top three, coming in with a time just 3:40 behind Walkner.

Motorcycle Results

Pos.No.NameCountryBikeTime
114Sam SunderlandUnited KingdomKTM32:06:22
216Matthias WalknerAustriaKTM32:38:22
38Gerard Farres GuellSpainKTM32:42:02
46Adrien Van BeverenFranceYamaha32:42:50
511Joan Barreda BortSpainHonda32:49:30
617Paulo GoncalvesPortugalHonda32:58:51
731Pierre Alexandre RenetFranceHusqvarna33:03:57
867Franco CaimiArgentinaHonda33:48:40
95Helder RodriguesPortugalYamaha34:09:28
1032Juan Carlos SalvatierraBoliviaKTM34:29:15
1145Ondrej KlymciwCzech RepublicHusqvarna34:29:52
1227Joaquim RodriguesPortugalHero Speedbrain34:30:46
1312Juan Pedro GarciaSpainSherco TVS34:39:08
1415Michael MetgeFranceHonda34:44:54
1534Diego Martin DuplessisArgentinaKTM35:07:26
1619Laia SanzSpainKTM35:08:16
1729Emanuel GyenesRomaniaKTM35:54:58
1879Todd SmithAustraliaKTM35:59:47
1982Daniel Oliveras CarrerasSpainKTM36:06:19
2028Mario PatraoPortugalKTM36:10:52
2187Cristian Espana MunozAndorraKTM36:16:48
2226Adrien MetgeFranceSherco TVS36:25:31
2333Antonio Gimeno GarciaSpainKTM36:45:37
2450Daniel Nosilglia JagerBoliviaHonda36:59:55
252Stefan SvitkoSlovakiaKTM37:24:12
2664Goncalo ReisPortugalKTM37:31:33
2737Nicolas Alberto Cardona VagnoniVenezuelaKTM37:31:37
2848Jose Ignacio Cornejo FlorimoChileKTM37:35:37
2941Marc Sola TerradellasSpainYamaha37:37:53
30117Toomas TriisaEstoniaHusqvarna37:55:05
3140Loic MinaudierFranceKTM37:56:40
3260Aleksandr IvaniutinRussiaHusqvarna38:23:44
3351Patricio CabreraChileKawasaki38:24:43
3452Milan EngelCzech RepublicKTM38:33:32
3546Fabricio FuentesBoliviaKTM38:41:24
36109Vincent CrosbieBotswanaKTM38:43:37
3768Simone AgazziItalyHonda39:09:59
3870Alessandro RuosoItalyKTM40:26:13
39100Lyndon PoskittUnited KingdomKTM40:27:50
4047Jose Julian KozacArgentinaKTM40:41:29
4166Walter Nosiglia JagerBoliviaHonda40:47:03
42131Fernando Sousa Jr.PortugalKTM41:03:24
4335Robert Jr Van PeltNetherlandsHusqvarna41:19:56
44149Matthew HartAustraliaHusqvarna41:26:08
4538David PabiskaCzech RepublicKTM41:31:04
4655Pablo Oscar PascualArgentinaKTM41:39:10
4742Santosh Chunchunguppe SivanshankarIndiaHero Speedbrain42:01:16
4858Pablo RodriguezArgentinaKTM42:12:11
49105Fausto MotaPortugalYamaha42:45:03
50123Maikel VerkadeNetherlandsKTM42:45:34
5154Manuel LuccheseItalyYamaha42:46:01
52107Max HuntUnited KingdomHusqvarna43:08:17
53103Rui OliveiraPortugalYamaha43:17:36
5483Alberto Santiago OntiverosArgentinaBeta43:20:22
5595Mart MeeruEstoniaHusqvarna43:38:40
56141Janos DesiHungaryKTM44:29:33
5775Pedro Bianci PrataPortugalHonda44:38:21
5863Toia DioclezianoItalyKTM44:44:45
59159Richard FliterBrazilHonda45:01:38
60112Kevin EchevesteArgentinaKTM45:20:20
6169Hugo PayenFranceKTM45:28:52
62157Emiliano CarboneroArgentinaKawasaki46:06:13
6390Carlos Gracida GarzaMexicoHusqvarna46:16:07
64135Sergio Anguiano ReigSpainKTM46:21:02
6596Cristobal Andres Guldman GonzalezChileKawasaki46:26:08
6662Laurent LazardUruguayKTM46:59:42
67118Shinnosuke KazamaJapanYamaha47:00:18
68126Petr VlcekCzech RepublicHusqvarna47:23:25
6998Jose CandiaParaguayKTM47:44:19
7057Philippe CaveliusFranceKTM47:54:47
7180Marcel ButuzaRomaniaKTM48:13:32
7256Jean-Christophe MenardFranceKTM48:20:36
7372Gabor SaghmeisterSerbiaKTM48:31:39
74150Mateo Moreno KristiansenColumbiaKTM48:54:25
7559Anastasiya NifontovaRussiaHusqvarna49:25:07
76102Gilles VanderweyenBelgiumKTM49:41:21
7786Julian Jose Garcia MerinoSpainYamaha49:59:44
78148Arnaud MoninFranceKTM50:20:32
7992Carlo VellutinoPeruKTM50:28:57
8081Rosa Romero FontSpainKTM50:59:10
8189Pawel StasiaczekPolandKTM51:06:27
82162Rudolf LhotskyCzech RepublicKTM51:28:25
83155Arjan BosNetherlandsHusqvarna51:57:50
84120David WatsonUnited KingdomKTM52:17:18
8561Franco PiccoItalyYamaha52:34:24
86111Marco ReinikeChileKTM53:05:06
87154Gregory MoratFranceKTM55:03:08
8878Ibraheem AlrubaianKuwaitKTM55:21:21
89133John ComoglioFranceKTM56:10:02
9065Guillaume CholletFranceYamaha56:37:41
91125Hugues DeliegeFranceKTM61:01:13
92124Timothee VacherandFranceKTM61:03:27
93137Olivier HembertFranceYamaha64:56:03
94132Joey EvansSouth AfricaKTM65:01:44
9588Frantz RoquesalaneFranceKTM65:13:40
96166Danny Robert Nogales CopaBoliviaKTM65:24:05

Note: Only finishers are listed here.

Quad Report

It was anyone’s guess who would become the quad winners of the 2017 Dakar as both the 2016 1st and 2nd place winners were not even going to be present. However, both Ignacio Casale and Rafal Sonik have both won in years past, so they might fight a little harder to taste the victory of the win once again.

It would be Brazil’s Marcelo Medeiros that would take the inaugural win during stage one, but a crash during stage 3 would take him out of the race and the running entirely. Argentina’s Gaston Gonzalez also had a great first race, coming in second. However, he too would unfortunately suffer a crash that left him with multiple fractures and an end to his racing during stage 4.

The leading spot would switch hands multiple times at the start of the event, but Sergey Karyakin had surged forward by stage 7, leading the pack and eventually finishing the course with a 1:14:51 lead. Ignacio Casale won multiple individual stages, and his efforts would land him 2nd place overall after the conclusion of the race. Pablo Copetti was able to cross the finish line in his own country to take the 3rd place position on the podium.

Quad Results

Pos.No.NameCountryBikeTime
1254Sergey KaryakinRussiaYamaha39:18:52
2251Ignacio CasaleChileYamaha40:33:43
3263Pablo CopettiArgentinaYamaha43:39:11
4250Rafal SonikPolandYamaha44:52:21
5280Axel DutrieFranceYamaha45:04:16
6262Bruno Da CostaFranceYamaha45:16:10
7261Santiago HansenArgentinaHonda45:16:11
8257Nelson Augusto Sanabria GaleanoParaguayYamaha45:30:38
9258Daniel DomaszewskiArgentinaHonda45:58:37
10284Kamil WisniewskiPolandCan Am47:25:01
11278Alexandre GiroudFranceYamaha49:04:00
12276Zdenek TumaCzech RepublicYamaha50:07:10
13259Camelia LiparotiFranceYamaha51:35:41
14274Carlos Alejandro VerzaArgentinaYamaha56:00:51
15264Diego LicioUruguayYamaha56:44:53
16283Gaston PandoArgentinaYamaha57:46:33
17267Kees KoolenNetherlandsBarren Racer58:41:25
18266Leando CreatoreArgentinaYamaha61:02:26
19268Jan Bastiaan Nijen TwilhaarNetherlandsCan Am67:16:57
20282Pablo Gaston RiosArgentinaYamaha67:23:39
21273Pablo Luis BustamanteArgentinaCan Am72:42:16
22265Lucas InnocenteArgentinaCan Am73:09:54

Note: Only finishers are listed here.

UTV Report

2017 marked the inaugural year for the new UTV class in the Dakar Rally. Eight UTVs lined up to start and only five would complete the full course, so the field had a pretty good chance at being stacked when it came to competition. However, of the eight riders who lined up to participate originally, four of those riders were rookies to the Dakar.

Mao Ruijin and Leandro Torres were the names the crowd would recognize most out of all of the riders, primarily because of prior racing experience. Torres battled back and forth for the win over nearly all 12 stages, but in the end he would win the event with a 4:42:34 lead. Wang Fujiang of China and Ravil Maganov of Russia rounded out the podium for the UTV class.

UTV Results

Pos.No.NameCountryBikeTime
1351Leandro Torres
Lourival Roldan
Brazil
Brazil
Polaris54:01:50
2386Wang Fujiang
Li Wei
China
China
Polaris58:44:24
3378Maganov Ravil
Kirill Shubin
Russia
Russia
Polaris60:07:25
4342Mao Ruijin
Sebastien Delaunay
China
France
Polaris77:31:57
5374Li Dongsheng
Quanquan Guan
China
China
Polaris78:47:15

Note: Only finishers are listed here.

By Rachel Bretzing