Marcos Patronelli, the Argentine hero of the Dakar

On top of a quad he was second in the first edition of the competition in South America and then won it three times.

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When talking about the relationship between the Dakar rally and Argentina it is inevitable to think about Mark Patronelli. It is that he was the first compatriot who managed to stand out in the toughest race in the world. It was in that 2009 edition, the first on South American soil to be held in Argentina and Chile with a massive start in the Obelisk.

Mark Patronelli
Marcos Patronelli in action. Photo: Marcelo Maragni / Red Bull Content Pool.

Marcos was already a personality within motor sport thanks to his successes in the Summer Enduro, but he surprised everyone with his speed and talent on top of his quad Can-Am. He finished second in that competition and then increased his fame with the triumphs of 2010, 2013 y 2016 (all with Yamaha).

In this Dakarian adventure he also had as a companion his brother Alejandro, who left his name branded with his hits in 2011 y 2012. Thus the Patronelli became a synonym for the Dakar and even today, despite not competing for a few years, they are remembered fondly.

On January 3, 2009 Marcos began to go through this stage in his sports campaign that was filled with joys and some disappointments. This is how he remembered it on his Instagram account when a decade of that day was completed. “Ten years ago the first stage of the Dakar Argentina-Chile rally began, the most exciting and demanding race in the world that I could ever experience. With no experience in the rally, every day I was discovering what it was about "He said.

Marcos and Alejandro Patronelli
A repeated image:
Marcos and Alejandro Patronelli in full celebration. Photo: Flavien Duhamel / Red Bull Content Pool.

“Something that I never imagined could happen came on day 7 of the race, on the Mendoza-Valparaíso route… I had won the stage. It was crazy… I was the first Argentine to achieve something like this in such a career. But also our country, Argentina, began to sound in the middle of the almost 100% European camp ”, said.

Loquillo, as he is known, also recalled how he arrived in the country for the final part of the race. “I will never forget the feeling of stepping on Argentine soil again and that many people, who did not know me, call me by my name and give me encouragement. I did not understand anything. I was only thinking of arriving in Buenos Aires and finishing my degree ”.

“Ten years ago (around 2009) my life began to change, that of my brother Ale and my whole family forever. Many anecdotes, friends, incredible experiences left me the seven years of competition in the Dakar. I only have words of thanks to everyone who accompanied me. They will always be on my mind and in my heart. Big hug and a very happy 2019 for all ”, Marcos finished, who enjoys this career from a distance, in his native Las Flores, together with his family, as always.

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Diego durruty

Journalist with 32 years of experience. Worked in magazines STROKE, The graphic, teammate y Only TC, on the Internet sites SportsYa!, e-driver.com y kmcero.com and on the radios Rock pop y vorterix.com. He covered the Dakar rally for the German agency dpa. He is currently the director of the portals Automundo.com.ar y NationRPM.com, host the podcast motorbit and the magazine Two Daring Guys (Campeones Radio, Radio Arroba and Spotify). In addition, he is a columnist in WorldSport (AM 570) and teacher in SPORTS.

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