The Dakar in its starting blocks Barcelona, December the 28th 2004 - The countdown has started before the big start of the Telefonica Dakar 2005. On the eve of the New Year, the 696 vehicles will take off on the long road to Dakar for the 27th...
The Dakar in its starting blocks
Barcelona, December the 28th 2004 - The countdown has started before the big start of the Telefonica Dakar 2005. On the eve of the New Year, the 696 vehicles will take off on the long road to Dakar for the 27th edition of the biggest rally raid event in the world (dec. 31 -jan. 16). But before that, time has come for the technical and administrative scrutineering for all competitors and vehicles. For the second year running, scrutineering takes place on three days due to the increasing popularity of the event (this year being a record breaking one in terms of participation).
Day 1 essentially concerned the Spanish competitors. On the former Olympic site of the Palau Sant Jordi, that had hosted the handball, volleyball and gymnastic competitions during the 92 games as well as Spain's first Davis cup win in 2000, 71 vehicles started going through inspections at 15h00. Competitors first went through an administrative check of all their documents (from vehicle licences to passports). It was then time to take their bikes and cars to the main hall for the technical part of the day for a check of the machines, navigational and security systems and fixing of the race numbers and stickers. After their day of scrutineering the drivers and bikers were finally all set for the 9000kms of racing to come.
Already quite a few fans gathered to the Palau Sant Jordi hall on this cold Catalan winter afternoon to catch a first glimpse of the early competitors and discover the last race preparations. The Barcelona crowd also had the opportunity to have a taste of the Dakar spirit with the extremely interesting bike exposition. A journey in the rally history with the possibility to admire some of the winning bikes: from Cyril Neveu's Yamaha 500XT (the very first event winner back in 1979) to title holder Nani Roma's triumphant KTM, not forgetting for instance, the BMW bike that took Hubert Auriol to success in 1982. Quite interesting to see how the bikes have evolved along the years!
Tomorrow promises to be a crowded occasion in the Palau Sant Jordi. The main hall will indeed welcome day 2 of the scrutineering starting at 8h00. The first big names will be presenting their vehicles including the Nissan armada with Ari Vatanen, Colin McRae and Giniel de Villiers (at around 16h00) and the Schlesser-Ford buggies of Jean-Louis Schlesser and local hero Josep-Maria Servia (at around 18h15). On two wheels, all eyes will be on Spaniards Isidre Esteve and Marc Coma of the KTM-Repsol team, as well as the Austrian brand's biggest rival: David Frétigné on his two-wheel drive Yamaha 450cc.