Jan 23, 2021
22nd January 2021, Bahrain – A very good haul for the Sparco partnerships at the Dakar Rally 2021, where, thirty years after his first victory, Stéphane Peterhansel triumphed for the fourteenth time, together with Edouard Boulanger racing for the X-Raid Mini JCW team. Breathtaking scenery, psychological and sporting pressure in a race marked by beauty and experience: these aspects have always been a distinguishing feature of the most beautiful rally in the world. Sparco is a brand that is growing and growing, including in the field of equipment, especially in competitions like this one.
Team and equipment
This year, Sparco was once again the companion of many drivers on their adventure, supporting them in their performance. In addition, the Italian brand was chosen as official technical partner by the X-Raid Mini and Bahrain Raid Xtreme (BRX) Prodrive teams (car category) and by Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team USA, Factory Polaris RZR Racer and Yamaha, in the ultra-light vehicle category. There were numerous highlights during the two intense weeks of racing, which were won by “Monsieur Dakar” Stephane Peterhansel (Peterhansel/Boulanger), who is also the absolute record holder of single stage wins in the history of the Dakar Rally.
Performance was excellent also for the other Sparco equipped drivers and teams. In the same team as the winners – the X-Raid Mini JCW – Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz finished third. Fifth place went to Nani Roma (BRX) despite his co-driver Dani Oliveras stopping due to Covid, while, in the same team, Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena were forced to retire following a breakdown and especially to favour their team mate, Nani Roma.
Also of note was the second place in the light vehicle classification for Camelia Liparoti, the female standard bearer of Yamaha, powered by X-Raid Team and paired with Annett Fischer. This is the first female team to step on the podium, aboard the light prototype (T3). Among others, we must mention the following crews: Mattias Ekstrom-Emil Bergvist (Yamaha), Kristen and Wayne Matlok (Factory Polaris RZR Racer) and the rookies Red Bull Junior Team (Mitch Guthrie Jr, Seth Quintero, Ola Floene, Francois Cazalet, Dennis Zenz, Cristina Gutierrez).
Sparco ‘race-ready’ equipment for drivers and mechanics includes seats, belts, full clothing and the brand new ‘X-light +’ shoes with carbon fibre insoles, tested for the first time by drivers at the Dakar Rally. In addition to the official teams, many other drivers chose to use Sparco products. These products are tested for maximum comfort and safety, as proved once again by their performance in the extreme conditions of the Saudi Arabian desert, throughout the 7,646 kilometres (4,751 miles) of the race.
Sparco and the Dakar Rally
Over the years, many drivers have relied on Sparco to rise to the challenge of the Dakar Rally, including Carlos Sainz senior, known as “El Matador”, two-time world rally champion and three-time winner of the Dakar Rally (including the 2020 edition), Miki Biasion (another champion and white-blue bearer) and Juha Kankkunen, the Finn who won in 1988. Albert Llovera would have been present at the Dakar 2021 together with Sparco if the Iveco team had not decided to withdraw. For Llovera, a Unicef ambassador and a great sportsman who has been using a wheelchair since he had a skiing accident in his youth, it is certainly only goodbye.
“For more than 40 years Sparco has been alongside the world’s best teams and drivers in all Motorsport competitions. Starting 2021 like this means starting in the right direction,” commented Claudio Pastoris, CEO of Sparco. “Our experience belongs to rallying and therefore to the Dakar Rally itself, and we are proud and satisfied to have been so keen on these partnerships with international teams and award-winning drivers. The Grand Rally, which has always been known as one of the most challenging and extreme motorsport events in the world, has always been an opportunity for Sparco® to deepen and perfect its knowledge in the world of technical racing equipment, in order to guarantee an ever greater focus on the safety and comfort of its drivers and teams.”
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