Been following and posting this info for the past few years and 2019 is no different.
Three Nissan Navaras in this year’s Dakar, all coming out of the same Red Line Motorsport shop in South Africa. Two drivers are newbies to Dakar while one is an old hat.
Today, 1/8 marked the second day of the race…after an 80+ km “warmup” stage yesterday, today was about 350kms. What is really interesting this year is that near 100% of the racing over 10 days is done on the sand and in the dunes of Peru vs. the dirt/gravel and WRC like roads in recent editions. This puts a priority on route finding and sand skills.
The old hand, Jurgen Schroder in his #329 Navarra finished 37th out of 94 listed finishers and now sits in 36th overall in the event.
The newest entrant and one who may have the fastest effort once he gets a bit of experience is the #429 of Shameer Variawa who came across 66th today moving to 65th. He had trouble with navigation, a puncture and his starter today, so just finishing at all today is a win.
Lastly is the #419 Navarra of Thomas Bell, also in his first Dakar finishing 61st in the second stage, also improving his standing to 58th for the event.
Prior statistics say that only one of these entries will finish the event but I’m hoping for better as while navigation will be tough throughout the event the sand should create fewer impact related stress on the vehicle—though perhaps greater strain on the engine given having to keep tire spin and revs up in order to get through the deeper sections. I’ll keep updating as the race goes along and including photos as I find them.