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It is just around the corner. All the top riders are flying to Lima Peru to start the 2013 Dakar Rally. Personally, I would love to see some great competition this year. I want to see the battle for the lead every single day. I want to see a serious challenge to the KTM and Cyril Despres dominance. But with Marc Coma out, I would be hard pressed to bet my money elsewhere.
I think the Hondas and Yamahas will be strong, but not leaders. Speedbrain Husqvarna might be due to see the top step. They have redesigned the frame on this year’s bike. In rally events this season the Husky’s have shown astonishing outright speed and durability.
One thing I have noticed following rally competitions of the last few years, Dakar seems to be the only time that all the top players are on the same stage. Coma and Despres seldom compete in the same events. The factory Husky’s don’t compete in the same events as the factory KTM’s. So it is hard to judge the level of competition at any one time. Dakar is one of the few places it all comes together.
As for my own picks, I am going with KTM support rider Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski as my one to watch for the event.
From Dakar.com: Jakub Przygonski is, once again, looking for a change of fortune on his 4th Dakar. In 2011, Przygonski was forced to withdraw, following a violent training accident on December 13. In a bit of irony he was scheduled to wear the number 13 tabard. For his return last year, his rally came to en end in the Argentinean desert on stage 3 with a blown engine. The 27-year old Pole has just completed his engineering studies and was able to compete in the entire rally-raid season (3rd in the world championship), on KTM bike prepared by the official team. He isn’t so much concentrating on a specific spot in the general classification. His only goal is to finish the rally, three years after placing 8th overall. Jakub’s girlfriend, Miss Poland 2011, will greet him with open arms on the podium at Santiago.
“After having competed in the entre rally-raid season, I am now concentrating on the Dakar. The 2012 edition was rally hard to deal with. Everything was working; I was 4th overall before the engine blew. That is racing. On the Dakar you have to master all the pieces of the puzzle. This year, I can take advantage of the factory KTM team structure. Despite all the difficulties of the past two years on the Dakar, my passion is in tact, but I just want to finish the rally without making any mistakes. I know that if I finish, it will be in a good position. There are still three of us in the Orlen team and despite their ages, Jacek (Czachor) and Marek (Dabrowski) are still very fast. There isn’t a designated leader in our team. Ours is a family team. We are here to help one another.”