Tuesday
Jan072014

2014 Dakar Rally: Stage 3 San Luis to San Juan

San Juan, Argentina (January 7, 2014) – American’s Robby Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch rebounded following two frustrating stages at the 35 Dakar Rally to finish 6th in the third stage of the famed race. The team’s SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HST Gordini finally performed as expected and allowed the duo to finish just seven minutes and two seconds behind stage winner Nani Roma of Spain.

Despite beginning the stage as the 28 of 121 cars, thus having to drive through fellow competitor’s dust and significant traffic, Gordon passed more than 20 cars during his more than three-hour and five-minute race. In doing so he shaved more than 21 minutes off of Frenchman Stephane Peterhansel’s overall leading time.

The day’s route covered 301 kilometers through the Pre-Andes Mountains. High altitudes in the two previous stages may have been a contributing factor in the team’s vapor lock issues with the HST Gordini’s fuel supply, therefore, Tuesday’s successful run at the Rally’s highest altitudes yet is certainly good news for the leading American team.

Wednesday’s 657-kilometer (408 miles) monster fourth stage is the longest scheduled for 2014 and will run from San Juan to Chilecito, Argentina. The long distance will not only test the drivers and navigators, but also each car’s fuel capacity, as refueling during the stage is not an option. While the stage will take drivers through rivers and steep descends into canyons, it is expected to be fast and wide open, giving drivers the ability to make up time on the field if mechanical and navigational problems can be avoided.

The 15-stage Dakar Rally will conclude January 18.

Be sure to watch the nightly highlight show of the 2014 Dakar Rally January 6th through January 18th on NBC Sports Network at 5 p.m. EST/ 2 p.m. PST. Check local listings for exact channel and time.

To follow Gordon and the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires team as they try to rise above the competition at the legendary Dakar Rally, log onto www.speedenergy.com and www.toyotires.com/dakar for race team updates.

Fans can also participate in the Dakar Rally experience by connecting on http://www.planetrobby.com and follow along with the team on Facebook and Twitter at: www.facebook.com/thespeedenergydrink, and www.facebook.com/toyotires, http://twitter.com/SPEED_ENERGY, http://twitter.com/ToyoTires.

The HST Gordini is supported by SPEED Energy, Toyo Tires, Traxxas, 4 Wheel Parts, Grand Design Recreational Vehicles, Magnaflow Exhaust, Eibach Springs, King Shocks, Mastercraft Safety, Embee Performance, MAC Tools, DeWALT, Freightliner Trucks, Replay XD, Impact Racing, Lincoln Welders, Ron Davis Racing Products, Techni Waterjet, Hella, Mechanix Wear, Saftey-Kleen, Weddle Industries, Kartek Off-Road, Team Gordon Race Wheels, Pro Am Racing Products, Anaheim Hills Auto Body.

Photos by Weyens Dakarworld

Monday
Jan062014

2014 Dakar Rally: Stage 2 San Luis to San Rafael

San Rafael, Argentina (January 6, 2014) – After a miserable opening day to the 35th Dakar Rally, Robby Gordon and the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires team were optimistic about the second of 15 stages in the famed race and were prepared to take advantage of their 17th starting position. Unfortunately, it was another day of dismay for Gordon and his HST Gordini as it rolled back into the bivouac with a tow from a fellow competitor.

With nothing shorter than a stage victory on his mind, Gordon found himself trying to capitalize on a 433-kilometer Special of the Rally that brought competitors into a high-speed test through Argentina’s grey sand dunes. With the HST Gordini designed with high speeds in mind this was the perfect opportunity for Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch to work themselves back into the race. However, midway through the special things took a turn for the worst, and the HST Gordini developed a mechanical failure and would require a tow to finish losing valuable time to the Stage leaders. 

Being down 1 hour and 13 minutes will make tomorrow's Stage 3 from San Rafael to San Juan an even tougher task as it will require a large amount of skill and patience from the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires team as the HST Gordini will encounter the first test of a mountainous terrain in the Rally passing through the Pre-Andes Mountains, climbing up and back down the 6,962-meter Aconcagua Volcano. If Gordon and Walch can make it over the mountain among the leaders the team will be able to proudly breathe a large sigh of relief. 

Be sure to watch the nightly highlight show of the 2014 Dakar Rally January 6th through January 18th on NBC Sports Network at 5 p.m. EST/ 2 p.m. PST. Check local listings for exact channel and time.

To follow Gordon and the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires team as they try to rise above the competition at the legendary Dakar Rally, log onto www.speedenergy.com and www.toyotires.com/dakar/2014 for race team updates. 

Fans can also participate in the Dakar Rally experience by connecting on http://www.planetrobby.com and follow along with the team on Facebook and Twitter at: www.facebook.com/thespeedenergydrink, and www.facebook.com/toyotires, http://twitter.com/SPEED_ENERGY, http://twitter.com/ToyoTires.

The HST Gordini is supported by SPEED Energy, Toyo Tires, Traxxas, 4 Wheel Parts, Grand Design Recreational Vehicles, Magnaflow Exhaust, Eibach Springs, King Shocks, Mastercraft Safety, Embee Performance, MAC Tools, DeWALT, Freightliner Trucks, Replay XD, Impact Racing, Lincoln Welders, Ron Davis Racing Products, Techni Waterjet, Hella, Mechanix Wear, Saftey-Kleen, Weddle Racing Gears, Kartek Off-Road, Team Gordon Race Wheels, Pro Am Racing Products, Anaheim Hills Auto Body. 

Photos by Weyens Dakarworld

Sunday
Jan052014

2014 Dakar Rally: Stage 1 Rosario to San Luis

San Luis, Argentina (January 5, 2014) – Sunday marked the start of the 2014 Dakar Rally and the debut of the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HST Gordini. The stage went from Rosario to San Luis and was comprised of a 629-kilometer liaison leading to a very short 180-kilometer Special through the region of Cordoba. Even though the stage was short, each competitor needed to pace themselves through the narrow tracks and stony sections remembering this is the start to the toughest off-road race in the world.

Despite being very prepared for this year's Rally, the race did not begin as well as the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires team had hoped. Robby Gordon for the second straight year would be taken by surprise on the opening stage as the SPEED Energy team encountered multiple issues.

Gordon talked about his misfortune shortly after returning the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HST Gordini into the bivouac. "I don't know what happened. Everything went smoothly when we took things easy on the link section, but from the moment we started the special, we had vapor lock problems and we had to stop. Then, all the other fluids started to overheat, so we had to stop at least five or six times... At the end, we had stopped for the umpteenth time when competitor No. 390 offered to tow us to the end of the special. Honestly, it's strange; I don't know why this happened. We'll have a look at it in the bivouac, although it's disappointing to lose two or three hours on the very first day of racing."

Gordon trails leader Carlos Sousa of Portugal by 2 hours and 34 minutes overall, which is not the way Gordon and the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires team wanted to start the Rally. The SPEED Team and Gordon know that they cannot make any more mistakes if they want any chance of a top-10 finish when the Dakar Rally ends in Valparaiso, Chile. 

Gordon will have an opportunity to chip away at that deficit in Monday’s second stage which at 365 kilometers is much longer than the opening 180-kilometer stage. Monday’s special will take competitors into a high-speed test through Argentina’s grey sand dunes. The HST Gordini was designed with high speeds in mind and Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch will need to quickly make it through the technical aspects of Nihuil’s dunes to get back into the race.

Be sure to watch the first highlight show of the 2014 Dakar Rally beginning on Monday, January 6th on NBC Sports Network at 5 p.m. EST/ 2 p.m. PST. Check your local listings for exact channel and time.

To follow Gordon and the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires team as they try to rise above the competition at the legendary Dakar Rally, log onto www.speedenergy.com and www.toyotires.com/dakar/2014 for race team updates.

Fans can also participate in the Dakar Rally experience by connecting on www.planetrobby.com and follow along with the team on Facebook and Twitter at: www.facebook.com/thespeedenergydrink, and www.facebook.com/toyotires, http://twitter.com/SPEED_ENERGY, http://twitter.com/ToyoTires.