When the Dakar suffered with the treacherous dunes of Peru

During the 2018 edition, the stages in Peruvian territory caused unusual situations and dozens of dropouts.

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During the Dakar editions in Peru, the Inca dunes were a great obstacle that the competitors had to face before reaching the finish line. An example of its difficulty occurred in the route of 2018, which also included the Argentina y Bolivia.

Dakar 2018 PeruThe Spanish Jordi Juvanteny, Jose Luis Criado y Javier Tamayo they were forced to abandon after their truck got trapped in a giant pot during the course of the second stage (Pisco-Pisco). The Iberian trio fell together with numerous participants in a sand trap from which it was impossible to escape. In any case, his Dakar did not end there, as there was still a challenge almost as difficult as finishing the race: rescue the truck from the dunes.

“It has been quite an incident! Three days of pick and shovel to get the truck out. We have had to organize very complicated logistics. Inside the Dakar caravan everything is much more comfortable, but when you are not with her things get complicated in these places ”, Juvanteny explained that moment.

Despite spending more than 30 hours trapped in the middle of the Peruvian desert, the KH-7 Epsilon Team went to work with the rescue immediately. “The director of the Dakar, Etienne Lavigne, came in person to rescue us by helicopter and told us that he would help us in any way possible, as it was. He put us in contact with the Zulu group, which supports the race vehicles. They spent three whole days with us, they have transported us and made things easier for us at all times. They were our guardian angels ", said the members of the Spanish team, who are known precisely by that nickname for their solidarity with the rest of the participants in the Dakar.

Dakar 2018 Peru“On Monday night, just after arriving in Ica after being rescued from the pot by helicopter, Jordi already contacted a landslide company that regularly carries out public works. The next morning, first thing in the morning, we met Wilfredo, his manager, to go to the truck. To rescue him we had a D8K Bulldozer with a front shovel and 35 tons of weight. As we could not go with that machine to the desert, we had to hire the services of a gondola truck to transport it. "explained Criado.

“A group of ten people headed there, ready to pull our vehicle, a 12-ton MAN, out of the sand. We were going very slow because the gondola truck could barely circulate at 4-5 km / h. In addition, as the road was dirt, on several occasions the Bulldozer had to get off the truck so that it could move forward and then get back on it, which slowed the journey even more "Tamayo continued.

“In the early afternoon we finally reached the pot, where fortunately the truck was still, the last of the entire Dakar caravan to emerge from that trap in the middle of the immensity of the desert. Jordi devised a way to access it and by which it could leave there later. It only remained to build it ... It was the largest pot of sand I have ever seen! The high wall measured about 300 meters and the low one, through which the vehicles exited, about 150 ", said Criado, the Spaniard with the most participation in the Dakar.

“At night we reached the top of the pot, but we had to stop when we ran out of power and return again the next morning. We continue with the work to create the path, moving more sand than anyone can imagine, and finally we left that fateful place. More than road, this was a highway! I believe that from now on it will even appear on Google Maps ... "said Juvanteny, who by profession is an expert in industrial machinery.

“In the afternoon, we returned to Ica, where we said goodbye to all the people who had helped us in this odyssey. What great people! We immediately took the road to Arequipa and from there we went to the border with Argentina. We will take the truck to Buenos Aires, from where it will return by boat, while we will take a plane back to Barcelona "Tamayo concluded relieved.

Adventures of this caliber, without a doubt, can only happen in a single race: the Dakar rally.


Peru's return to the Dakarian itinerary fulfilled that quota of toughness promised by the organizers during the launch of the 40th edition of the legendary event. The five stages contested in Inca territory left 72 pilots of the 335 who started from Lima on the road. A considerable number if you take into account that, in general, 50 percent of the participants drop out.

Dakar 2018 PeruAmong motorcyclists, accidents were very common. As it happened with the French Adrien metge (Sherco), who fractured his tibia in the first stage (Lima-Pisco) or the English Sam sunderland (KTM / photo), champion in 2017 and who left in the fourth (San Juan de Marcona-San Juan de Marcona) due to a lumbar injury.

Although the worst part was taken by the Czech Ondrej Klymciw (Husqvarna). He crashed on the third day (Pisco-San Juan de Marcona) and remains hospitalized in a Lima hospital in a "Artificial sleep", according to his wife said through social networks ...

The drivers in the car category were not exempt from extreme situations either. The American Bryce menzies destroyed his MINI buggy on the second day of the race (Pisco-Pisco) and the Spanish Nani Rome (MINI) was left out on the fourth day when he fell into a ditch that, apparently, was not marked in the road-book. His accident was so spectacular that he was taken to a sanatorium for routine tests and he was only discharged 48 hours after his admission.

The dunes of Peru did not spare the Portuguese either André Villas-Boas (Toyota), the football coach who debuted in this edition. He injured his back in a jump and also ended up in a sanitarium. They also had no mercy on the French Sébastien Loeb, nine times world rally champion. Seb got stuck in a hole in the middle of a dune with such bad luck that his Monegasque navigator daniel helena He suffered a coccyx fracture and that prevented them from continuing.

Undoubtedly, that toughness that the pilots asked for so much for a Dakar is what prevailed in that 2018 edition.

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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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