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Rating: Published on 7 January 2015 by: LaŽtitia Baoka 10761 times read

The 2015 Dakar race will take place from January 4 to 17 and will cross 3 countries : Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.

This year again, Jo Adua will hold high the TOP TRUCK colors. Follow your champion here with our daily review. You can also go to the official Dakar 2015 website to find out all details about the race.

Go Adua!

Stage 13 - Finish, Saturday January 17: ROSARIO => BUENOS AIRES

Stage 13 - Finish, Saturday January 17: ROSARIO => BUENOS AIRES

That’s it!

None of the drivers in the Dakar consider it over until they reach the end of this final day; and for good reason, because every year at least one competitor retires during this final stage. Caution is the name of the game on the fast tracks of the special stage, at the very least for those who haven't got a position to defend. Because reaching the podium of the 2015 edition at the Tecnópolis in Buenos Aires is the ultimate goal, which they have come to achieve.

Finally, Kamaz's grip on the truck race remained as strong as ever. The Russians were light-years ahead of the competition, pulling off a jaw-dropping 1-2-3-4 in the general classification! Hans Stacey's win at the wheel of his Iveco in the first stage may have seemed a bad omen for the Russians, but despite racking up four stage wins, the Dutchman was left in the dust as Ayrat Mardeev and Eduard Nikolaev duelled for the overall. Nikolaev won six stages and halfway through the race seemed on track to repeat his 2013 victory, but a calamitous stage 7 forced him to chase after the super-consistent Mardeev. In the end, Nikolaev simply ran out of road as he lost to his fellow countryman by 13 minutes in Buenos Aires. Ilgizar Mardeev's son made amends for his second place behind Nikolaev two years ago, while 2014 champion Andrey Karginov took the bottom step of the podium.

And so, our team #518 finished a fine 24th place in this long and trying Dakar. They also performed perfectly in their role closely assisting the Minis – winners of the Dakar Car Rally. It was a great adventure for the daring Jo Adua and Thomas Robineau – certainly deserving the podium and some rest.

Congratulations, guys! We are proud of you!

And we look forward to seeing you as champions in the next races! 

Stage 12: Friday January 16: SALTA => TERMAS De RIO HONDO => ROSARIO

Stage 12: Friday January 16: SALTA => TERMAS De RIO HONDO => ROSARIO

Liaison: 726km

Special: 298km

The Dakar will spend the night near the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, which regularly hosts the Argentine rounds of the GP and WTCC motorcycle championships. The Dakar's competitors are set for a cross-country journey, battling it out in this tension-packed penultimate day. A combative driver could still shake up the leaders' positions even at this stage. And drivers who become too distracted could be caught by surprise by the surrounding vegetation.

Hans Stacey did not let anybody catch him after starting the special to Rosario first. Following his victory yesterday, he reproduced the same feat to taste triumph again. However, the Dutchman only just beat his two countrymen Marcel Van Vliet and Gerard de Rooy, who finished less than 30 second behind him. The day's fifth placed finisher Airat Mardeev now has a lead of 12'43'' over Eduard Nikolaev in the general standings as final victory draws nearer.

Jo Adua and Thomas Robineau remain consistent (29th place in the stage at around 30 minutes), and will certainly finish the race – and be the first French – at Buenos Aires, Dakar 2015. 

Stage 11 Thursday January 15: SALTA => TERMAS De RIO HONDO

Stage 11 Thursday January 15: SALTA => TERMAS De RIO HONDO

Liaison: 326km

Special: 194km

The rally will continue on two separate routes, following the famous Ruta 40 and winding through its magnificent landscapes. Drivers won't have time to relax on these fast routes though: the fatigue which will have accumulated by the 11th day of the race (the 4th marathon day for the motorcycles and quads!) will demand maximum concentration on both the route and the road-book. In the cockpits of the cars and trucks, the watchword will also be vigilance; these tracks are often lined with trees.

In the truck race, Hans Stacey reproduced a performance similar to the first stage by grabbing a second victory ahead of his rival and countryman Gerard de Rooy by a little more than one minute at the finishing line of the special. The battle between the Kamaz took second billing today as Eduard Nikolaev finished third, regaining two minutes on Airat Mardeev (9th) to maintain the pressure in the general standings on his teammate who is a little more than eleven minutes ahead.

There were several stops and moments coming to the aid of various “Minis” in the race as well as stunts, twists and turns for #518 (the truck even fell over in Stage 5).

Jo Adua and Thomas Robineau placed a nice 24th, which let them more closely assist the Minis.

For the moment, mission accomplished and Jo’s crew is certainly notable in the likely victory for Mini at Dakar 2015.

Here is a link to an interview of Jo by Gerard Holtz (at minute 26):

Go! Only two more stages to rally for Buenos Aires and the finish line of this tough Dakar.  

Stage 5 Thursday January 8 : COPIAPO => ANTOFAGASTA

Stage 5 Thursday January 8 : COPIAPO => ANTOFAGASTA

Liaison: 239km           Special: 458km


This is the first of the rare special stages in which all categories will compete. At the start of the race, the most confident drivers will be able to take advantage of the fast tracks to try to move up in the overall standings. But the temptation to do so may be risky, particularly in the hard-to-handle fesh-fesh areas where absolute self-control is the only guarantee of success. Overtaking here requires precision handling to the extreme.


Stage 4 Wednesday January 7: CHILECITO => COPIAPO

Stage 4 Wednesday January 7: CHILECITO => COPIAPO

Liaison: 594km           Special: 174km

At Night The Route Is Twice As Hard!

The competitors will have to prove they are worthy of entering Chile! A very early start and a climb to a height of 4,800 metres will precede the border crossing at Paso San Francisco. The really challenging section will begin with a gradual warm-up on the mining tracks, before drivers are faced with the reality of the Atacama Desert. The route here is open and sandy. Over the course of the last 40 kilometres, the giant dunes and basins of Copiapo will have to be tackled and for many this will be at night. Overcoming them will require finesse and instinct.

Stage 3 Tuesday January 6: SAN JUAN => CHILECITO

Stage 3 Tuesday January 6: SAN JUAN => CHILECITO

Liaison: 258km           Special: 284km

A Vision of Red

The pressure which competitors faced the day before (and late into the night for some of them), will partly ease off on the road to Chilecito. The shorter and less intense stage will allow them to enjoy their majestic surroundings. The red earth tracks, overlooking steep peaks and plunging down into canyons, will take the Dakar through one of the most beautiful regions of Argentina. With thousands of stones to be avoided, it will only take one to ruin this magnificent day.

In the truck race, Airat Mardeev -- sixth place in the first stage, then third place in the second stage -- continues his powerful climb with his fist win at Dakar 2015 putting him in the lead of the rally. The Kamaz pilot managed to create a near two-minute distance from the next Kamaz driver, Andrey Karginov, the 2014 winner, and 4’30 from the regular Gerard de Rooy. Overall, Mardeev is eight minutes ahead of his main opponents. 

Jo continues a steady pace in the rally, maintaining his support role for the minis.

Number 518 is now in 24th place, over an hour and a half behind the leader. But the rally has only just begun and from experience we have seen that prudence and consistency is key. 

Stage 2 Monday January 5: VILA CARLOS PAZ => SAN JUAN

Liaison: 315km           Special: 331km

The Longest Stage

Any rest will be short-lived, because before reaching San Juan, the competitors will have a particularly busy schedule: quite simply the longest special stage in the rally, which is varied enough to unsettle even the most experienced of drivers. Hard terrain at the start of the race will be followed by dusty sections in the middle of the day and a sandy stretch to finish. This is the first real test, which can only be successfully overcome through constant vigilance.

In the truck race, Eduard Nikolaev flew the flag for Kamaz after a disappointing first day, beating Byelorussian Siarhei Viazovich by 46 second. A second Kamaz completed the day's top 3 driven by Airat Mardeev, whilst Hans Stacey grabbed a fourth place finish that allowed him to hold on to his leadership in the general standings by 20 seconds. Andrey Karginov and Gerard de Rooy, who both dominated in 2014, each lost five minutes on the day's stage.

Jo, Thomas and Pedro and their Iveco continued their cautious start while helping the Minis, notably Nani Roma, who was not spared of any problems this year.

Regardless, Number 518 climbed up to the 21st position, 46:47 behind leader Hans Stacey. Jo seems to have adopted a different strategy this year of consistency and prudence. But there’s no doubt they are as motivated as ever! 

Stage 1 Sunday January 4: BUENOS AIRES => VILA CARLOS PAZ

Stage 1 Sunday January 4: BUENOS AIRES => VILA CARLOS PAZ

Liaison: 663km  Special: 175 km

The competitors will be rapidly plunged into the heart of the Argentinean countryside. The combination of the route's different features means that there will be something for everyone, while sticking to relatively simple criteria, for the time being. Fast tracks coupled with sharp bends will divide up the vehicles, according to the levels of the drivers, who will be tested in an exciting environment which marks this first special stage, but without singling out any particular category. At the end of this warm-up, the day will finish with a long liaison section to the first bivouac.


It was a really tricky stage, very much like those in WRC with lots of breaking and accelerating. 175 km of this was a great way to get the ball rolling!

Kamaz’s domination has been undermined on the fast first special by a tough fight between the Dutchmen Hans Stacey and Marcel Van Vliet, with the advantage going to the former. The Iveco driver, having been on the final podium three times, believes in his chances of victory in Buenos Aires, while Ales Loprais finished third in the evening of the first stage, only 47 seconds behind.

As for Jo Adua, he was careful in the first stage and warming up, but nonetheless suffered greatly from the flying dust from his opponents. He even had to stop for more than 10 minutes to help Nani Roma (title holder) who stopped 6km into the special. If not for this stop, Jo would be in the top 10.

Indeed, it should be noted this year Jo Adua/Thomas Robineau/Pedro Velosa – #518 – are in rapid assistance of Team X Raid (Mini stable).

The #518 is 22nd in the scratch ranking and in general only 12:01 behind Stacey and his Iveco.

Jo said during the liaison: “The stop was a little frustrating but all is well and it’s a long 15 day course… Thanks for your support, we will make every effort to fly high the G-TRUCK/TOP TRUCK colors.”