So I’ve found the race coverage in the ‘Wee ‘O the night upon NBC Sports Network - with Leigh Diffey hosting the half hour vignettes; CRIKEYS! Thank Goodness I’m not upon the east coast where they’ve been airing at 2-2:30AM ET!
And although I’d already heard the first stage winner’s name plus results via the Minnesota Star, nevertheless I was totally surprised to hear that not only was El Matador back, but had drawn first blood by winning his 25th Dakar stage overall, as ex-WRC champion Carlos Sainz was back after a one-year retirement, largely due to his past nemesis Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Al-Attiyah, the sport’s first Qatari to ever win the prestigious Dakar rally in 2011 after finishing runner-up to his teammate and arch nemesis Sainz in the rally’s closest finish ever has eschewed the contentious relationship with El Hummero, nee Robby ‘Dirtman “Gordoun” (Gordon) in favour of campaigning his own buggy’s, as the 2012 Olympics bronze medal skeet shooter looks to contend for victory once again.
Meanwhile another interesting competitor is four-time gold cup and multiple Olympic medals winning Polish ski jumper Adam Malysz, one of ski jumping’s best athletes ever. As Malysz has moved onto racing cars as a Rally driver and in his sophomore
is aiming to finish in the Top-20 results this year. Dakar
Then there’s the unlikely duo of Jan Lammers and Alex Caffi, two ex-Formula 1 drivers both running in the Trucks category this year, as Lammers is probably the better known of these two, having won the 24 Heurs du Mans way back in 1988. While Caffi’s F1 career was short-lived running for the Minnowesque Osella and Scuderia Italia teams before a disastrous stint in the vastly underperforming Footwork-Arrows Porsche.
Meanwhile another ex-WRC piloto, two-time champion Massimo 'Miki' Biasion celebrated his 55th birthday by notching his second third-place podium in the Trucks category on January 7th...