Dakar Rally: Xtreme Plus Polaris Team Takes 2nd, 3rd, 4th Overall on CST Tires
Overcoming some of the world’s most merciless terrain, riders from the CST-sponsored Xtreme Plus Polaris Factory Team took second, third, and fourth places at the 2018 Dakar Rally, held January 6-20. With each Polaris vehicle outfitted with CST’s Lobo RC tires, Polaris was the most successful manufacturer in the SxS class at this year’s brutal off-road endurance event.
These finishes are all the more remarkable in light of the fact that, as Nick DeGroot put it in a 2016 essay on Vice Sports, “The Dakar Rally is considered by many to be the most dangerous, most difficult, and most grueling race on the planet—and for good reason. It’s a vicious race that puts a whole new spin on the phrase ‘To finish first, you must first finish.’ We aren’t just talking about vehicles making it to the end, but people, too. Twenty-eight participants have perished since its inception and dozens more have narrowly escaped the same fate in pursuit of Dakar glory.”
France’s Patrice Garrouste and Switzerland’s Steven Griener earned their share of Dakar glory by taking second overall. Finishing in 73 hours, 41 minutes and 43 seconds, they won five stages of the Dakar Rally, beating the competition in Stages 4, 6, 10, 11, and 13.
Claude Fournier of France and Szymon Gospodarczyk of Poland took third place, with a total time of 82 hours, 53 minutes, and 31 seconds. Jose Luis Peña Campo and Rafael Tornabell Cordoba, both from Spain, earned fourth place, finishing in 82 hours, 57 minutes, and 26 seconds.
Team Director Marco Pianam: “We are happy with the result. It was a good balance for the Xtreme Plus Polaris Factory team. We had five total stage wins by Garrouste and one by Aliaga Anibal. What is exceptional is that in the first 30 cars’ overall classification, we can find four SXS: Garrouste in 25th, Fournier in 28th, and Peña 29th. The Dakar Rally requires technical ability, good machines, and strong drivers and co-drivers; this was more important than pure speed. We are sure that the category will get stronger and stronger and grow even bigger in the future.”
“For us, it is a pleasure to help drivers achieve their dreams. Peña had a lot of emotion, as it was his dream to finish a Dakar since he was a child. In the last stage, Fournier did a brilliant job of controlling the race and making no mistakes to maintain his position. He was the best performing Polaris driver with a non-turbo machine, which is a testament to his fantastic efforts.”
“We want to say a big thank you to Polaris, Motul and CST Tires that they trust in Xtreme Plus and in SxS. In 2019, we will come back stronger and get the awards back that Xtreme Plus has won since 2012.”
The course of this year’s race covered 12 cities and 5463.7 miles (8793 km) from Lima, Peru through Bolivia to Cordoba, Argentina. Riders sped through desert terrain and over dunes, rocks, mud, and other obstacles at various stages of the race, which annually receives TV coverage in over 190 countries, including on NBC Sports Network in the US.
CST thanks all of these riders for choosing its Lobo RC tires and congratulates them on achieving spectacular results in the Dakar Rally, one of off-road racing’s most demanding events.