Jan 26, 2018
South Racing Can-Am Team’s Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin overcame the final nervy 120km of a punishing and energy-sapping 2018 Dakar Rally to seal a memorable victory in the SxS category.
The Brazilians began the final day with a lead of 53min 28sec and knew that a risk-free strategy was the only way to play the short timed test. Varela was sixth into the last stage and he carded a final time of 1hr 53min 59sec to seal the win and finish 57min 37sec in front of Frenchman Patrice Garrouste in the overall SxS classification.
The six surviving ATVs in the SxS category left the start of the final 120km special stage in reverse order. That meant that the Argentinean duo of Leonel Larrauri and Fernando Imperatrice were first into the stage in the second of the South Racing Can-Am Team’s Maverick X3s.
They kept their vehicles in one piece over the nervy final kilometres to reach the stage finish in a time of 1hr 45in 55sec. That gave them the quickest time and confirmed their finish in a distant sixth overall in the final SxS rankings, but celebrating a first stage win in front of a home crowd was a special moment for the duo.
What they said:
Scott Abraham, Managing Director, South Racing Can-Am Team
“It was a great way to finish the Dakar with a 1-2 stage performance. Leo has been trying to find his rhythm and it’s paid off with the stage win. Reinaldo brought the car home and did what he needed to do. It was the first race out with the Can-Am Maverick X3. It was a dominant performance from the team and the car has shown it has a huge amount of potential for the future.
“The real heroes of this Dakar have been the mechanics who, of the 13 stages, worked through 11 of the nights. Without them, and the long hours they put in, we would not be here today. They deserve a huge amount of thanks and have my respect for life. Now we can enjoy the final festivities this evening.”
2018 Dakar Rally – SS14 result (SxS category)
2018 Dakar Rally – final positions (SxS category):
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