Mendoza led the Argentine representation in this Dakar 2022. And the results endorsed the Cuyo representatives in the great competition. The most experienced of all Orly Terranova, achieved his best performance in a Dakar, by placing fourth in cars, improving the national record, which he and Lucio Álvarez held, with fifth places.
Terranova, who ventured into motorcycles for the first time when the great adventure was held in Africa, agreed to his best result with the Bahrain team, in which he has as a teammate the former world rally champion, sebastien loeb.
“I am very happy, a nice Dakar. The last stage was very stressful because you don’t know if you’re going at a good pace or not. We had a bittersweet first week, but a very good second. A nice regulation, a nice race. The truth is that I had a great time”, commented the man from Mendoza.
Hug. Orlando Terranova and Carlos Sainz, a racing legend. Photo: AFP
“I am happy with the result. The car category, like the motorcycle category, is very complex. In both categories you compete against 15 monsters. Finishing in the top four is no small thing.”, added Terranova, who indicated: “Now comes the time for analysis. The truth is that it moves very fast. It’s too much. You have to leave the eggs under the car and accelerate”.
However, the Argentine driver commented: “But we have a very balanced car. It is very good that an official team like Audi enters, even if it says that it is electric and burns more fuel than others. We will have to see why we lack a bit of power, but they are things to evaluate”.
The final classification went to Qatari Nasser Al Attiyah, with Toyota Hilux, followed by teammate from Newfoundland, former World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb.
Nasser Al-Attiyah, the Qatari who reached his fourth victory in the Dakar. Photo: AFP
Other Argentines hugged each other as they reached the finish line. Sebastian Halpern was very excited along with his experienced navigator Ronnie Graue: “A decade ago when I started competing in the Dakar on quads, I saw the X-Raid team and it was something unattainable. Today I enter the top ten together with this structure, I am very happy”, highlighted the man from Mendoza.
“We did a great job. Too bad the Mini had a small flange left, which penalizes the rest. But with Ronnie we did an exceptional job stage by stage,” Halpern told Clarion, so excited for the 8th place that the tears did not allow him to continue with his explanation.
Another driver from the province of Cuyo, Lucio Álvarez, stood out in the final stage, arriving in second place. “I’m happy with the performance in general. The pity that I have is the breakage of the differential, which did not allow me to finish in third place. I was fighting for the podium and that delayed me. Now we will see how I continue. I was runner-up in the world, so I will surely compete this year in the contest as well”, Álvarez commented.
The Yacopinis gave each other an eternal embrace. Juan Cruz, who was behind the wheel of the Toyota Hilux, with his father, Alejandro. They also Mendoza. “The joy is immense, because this time we completed the Dakar. It was not easy at all, but with a lot of support and studying the terrain well, we were able to move forward and finally here we are, with a complete Dakar”, indicated the young Juan Cruz.
Lucio Álvarez was to make a podium, but his car failed. At least, he was second in the last stage. Photo: EFE
The Benavides and the motorcycles
In motorcycles, the Benavides brothers are on another level. Kevin, who had just won the penultimate stage after abandoning and crashing, points to the World Championship: “It is the pending matter that I have, to run the entire World Championship and fight for it. I did not start in the best way, because the Dakar is part of the tournament, but now I will rest for a few days and I will focus on Abu Dhabi, the next date”, he commented.
Meanwhile Luciano, his younger brother and Husqvarna representative, was 13th and analyzed: “The general result was not what was expected. The problem of the first day plus some strategies in favor of the team led to the final number. But I am very happy because it was my best Dakar. I feel that the navigation problem we suffered in the opening stage allowed me to mature a lot, it did me good in the future. I am very satisfied with my progress as a driver”, he highlighted.
Kevin Benavides greets the new motorcycle champion, Sam Sunderland. Photo: Reuters
Revelation in the category for Argentina was the driver from La Rioja, Diego Llanos, that in his debut he was 26th: “This last day I went out to take care of the bike because I was excited about the possibility of arriving. This is my first Dakar and I only wanted this, to be here. At the time, the Benavídes brothers helped me a lot, to learn the secrets of this race. But what happens to me surely happens to the rest of the Argentines. It is very difficult for us to come to run here, and achieving the goal is a dream,” said Llanos.
Diego Noras, from Mendoza, finished in 53rd place. “All the nerves reached the last day, despite the fact that the final stage was very nice. I emphasize having arrived, not having suffered falls and being whole is a lot. I have my family awaiting my performance, my wife, two boys, one of them turned a year old a few days ago. There are many things that go through your head when you reach the finish line.”
Joaquín Debeljuh arrived in Saudi Arabia from Pergamino. “When I was a boy I went to the start of the Nueve de Julio. There was a crowd to see the launch of the Dakar. I watched the competitors go by and thought that one day I was going to be one of them. And here I am fulfilling this dream and in the best way, with my entire career”, explained the boy from Acevedo, close to Pergamino.
Tears were not directly contained by Matías Notti. They were not from the pain of the cracked ribs of the first days. He mentioned his mother and could not stand the tears: “I came with a lot of effort. It was complicated for me because I suffered a fall in the third stage and broke four ribs. I didn’t want to say much in the medical service so they wouldn’t kick me out of the race. I waited and arrived. And here I am, telling my mom that I arrived safely. She worried throughout the Dakar”, affirmed the rider from Mendoza.
And the Silva Duck?
Finally, Juan Manuel Silva could not complete the lap. The Puma Energy Rally Team truck, which had broken down on Sunday, in the seventh stage due to an electrical problem, returned to the ring, after getting hooked, together with the crew members Carlos Mel Banfi and Pau Navarro. But the night before last he suffered a fault in the turbo and this led to his definitive abandonment.
“Everything is experience. I liked racing trucks. It is the category that I would choose again for the future. I take this process as a learning process,” said the man from Chaco. In trucks, the Russian team Kamaz achieved 1-2-3-4, with the victory of Dimytr Sotnikov.
Qiya, Saudi Arabia. Special for Clarin.