2011 Dakar NewsWith 32 quads at the 2011 Dakar, the category has set a new record in terms of entries. The forfeit of Marcos Patronelli, injured in training, leaves a wide open path for several contenders in Argentina.
Mowed down in full flight! Since the 2010 Dakar, Marcos Patronelli was on cloud nine. After winning three stages, and running away from the all his rivals, the winner in the quad category was given a hero’s welcome in Buenos Aires. He became the first Argentinean to write in his name in the Dakar record book. The fairy tail story made headlines throughout the country. And when the quad rider returned to competition, Marcos won again, this time in Africa on the Pharaohs Rally. However, the odds on favorite for the 2011 Dakar edition is not untouchable: during a training ride in late November, the younger of the Patronelli brothers somersaulted at 90km/h, injuring both ankles and shoulder. Five to six weeks of healing are needed. While he hasn’t officially informed the organizers of his withdrawal, it will take nothing less than a miracle for the defending quad champion to line up for the start on Jan. 1. Now all eyes turn to older brother Alejandro and 2nd in the 2010 Dakar. After having though about not coming back he now prepared to defend the family honoor. But it looks as if it will be a tall order with the path opening up for many rivals. Czech Quad rider, Josef Machacek is a four-time winner in the category and won in South America in 2009 has an excellent chance of regaining his title. After dropping out on stage four in 2010, the leader of the discipline will have a pack of Argentineans and Chileans to deal with. He will also have to control his closest rivals. Within his quad team, Machacek trained fellow Czech Martin Plechaty as well as Poland’s Lukasz Laskawiec. Among the outsiders, it may be Rafal Sonik’s moment to shine. Since he burst on to the quad scene, he has systematically finished on the podium in 3rd place. In the female quad category, world champion Camelia Liparoti will be racing alone. The Franco-Italian experienced the satisfaction of finishing the Dakar for the first time in 2010. She now has the challenge of moving up the hierarchy.