2019 Dakar Stage 1 Report

Team SPEED 2019 Dakar Race Report

January 7, 2019

Stage 1 Lima to Pisco

Liaison: 331 km / 206 miles

Special: 84 km/ 52 miles

No. 316 SPEED Energy/ Toyo Tires SPEED Edition XXR- Robby Gordon

Start Position: 16

WP1: -00:02:08

WP2: -00:04:10

Total Time: 01:10:09

Finish behind leader: -00:08:28

Stage Result: 21

Overall Position: 21


– The 2019 Dakar Rally will mark Robby Gordon of Orange, California’s 13th start in the prestigious Off-Road Rally race.
– Gordon and veteran navigator Kellon Walch started 16th off the line for Stage 1 of the 2019 Dakar Rally.
– Thru way point 1 Gordon in the Toyo Tires SPEED Edition Textron XX was on pace with the lead cars. However, would miss the waypoint and need to turn around to clear it loosing a few valuable minutes in the process.
– Running a lower air pressure than normal to gain traction in the sand, Gordon would need to pace himself through the fast and rocky portions of the three wash sections to be careful to not puncture one of his 33” Toyo Tires Open Country M/T Tires.
– Similar to the first way point, remaining focused on passing the cars in front of him Gordon would miss the way point, and veteran navigator Walch would instruct him to turn around to clear. Resulting in finishing 8 minutes and 28 second behind leader Nasser Al-Attiyah with a total time of 1 hour 10 minutes and 9 seconds.


“All three cars finish today, and really did not have any problems, a few small things that were self induced. I tried cutting the course a couple times, and Kellon made me loop back around to get the waypoints. I most likely lost around 3 minutes by missing way points, and having to turn around and go back to clear it. When you start so back in the field like sixteenth where we did, as a driver your not focused on the way points, your focused on the cars, and try to get to the car in front of you.”

“We are running a OEM production tire on the SPEED Edition Textron XXR this year, a 33” Toyo Tires Open Country M/T. With the Sand I felt the way the M/T is with the sidewall, I had to drop my tire pressures down to ten pounds, but I didn’t realize we were going to have three wash sections about 15 miles of rocky washes but I had to be very careful and slow down the pace to not get a rock thru the tire with low pressure. My strategy was great in the sand, but was defiantly a disadvantage with the high speed in the rocks.”

“Myself and Team SPEED made a lot of changes to these cars after the Baja 1000. Back in that race we lost a head gasket, so really focused on the cooling and oil cooling leading up to the Dakar. The water temp I never saw over 200 degrees, the oil temp the highest I saw was 220 degrees. It looks like we have our cooling temperatures stabilized. The most important thing was to survive this special. We did a 160 miles transfer liaison on the way here that was perfect for breaking the engines in, and getting everything bedded in properly. Having all three cars finish on day one is a good sign. We did enter a UTV against the Cars, we would of won the UTV class pretty easy but that wasn’t the name of the game here. We came to race the cars and to be honest when I saw the eight minutes down I saw a bit of sticker shock, but when I went back and evaluated all of the things we did wrong or we could of done better. I found that we could most likely find five of the eight minutes back. That would put us pretty much on pace with everyone. Biggest thing in Stage 2 I cannot over drive the car and be smart consistently having good runs. Stage 2 will give us dune, gravel roads and rocks at the end of the day we will see where we stack up against the competition.

No. 346 ICP/ Security State Bank/ Toyo Tires SPEED Edition XXR- Cole Potts

WP1: -5:26

WP2: -00:11:09

Total Time: 01:22:03

Finish behind leader: -00:20:22

Stage Result: 43

Overall Position: 43


-Cole Potts of Scottsdale, Arizona made his first Dakar Rally start today in Stage 1 from Lima, Peru to Pisco, Peru.
-The short 84 km special offered Potts and navigator Max Eddy an opportunity to become familiar with the SPEED Edition Textron XXR racecar.
-Not pushing the Innovative Computer Professional/ Security State Bank/ Lakes Region Casino car too hard Potts cleared checkpoint one 5 minutes and 26 seconds behind the leader Nasser Al-Attiyah. The second half of the Stage was a little more difficult, and Potts lost time on the leader trying to navigate the dunes.
-Finishing the stage with a total time of 1 hour and 22 minutes and 3 seconds, Potts received a good learning experience of what to expect the rest of the rally.


“Good Stage today for my first experience at a Rally. My main objective was to get a feel for the car, and its limitations with out pushing it too hard and breaking anything. The Dunes are similar to what I have been training on in the US. On behalf of Blade and Robby. I think we are all very comfortable out here in the sand, and the other terrain that’s going to get thrown at us so that’s a real bonus. Today was just a day to really figure out the car, and get it up to our liking for the remaining stages. We will make a few adjustments, and be back to give it a go tomorrow for Stage 2.”

No. 367 King Shocks/Toyo Tires SPEED Edition XXR- Blade Hildebrand

WP1: -00:03:32

WP2: -00:06:56

Stage Total Time: 01:16:11

Finish behind leader: -00:14:30

Stage Result: 34

Overall: 34


-Blade Hildebrand of Yucca Valley, California made his first Dakar Rally start today in Stage 1 from Lima, Peru to Pisco, Peru.

-The short distance of the special would give Hildebrand and navigator Bill Conger an opportunity to become acquainted with the King Shocks/Toyo Tires SPEED Edition Textron XXR during race conditions.

-Hildebrand made it thru check point one with a time 3:32 behind the leader Nasser. The second half of the stage was consistent for the King Shocks/Toyo Tires SPEED Edition Textron XXR but was more challenging.

-Hildebrand and Conger would finish 6 minutes and 56 seconds behind the leader with a total time of 1 hour 16 minutes and 11 seconds.


“Today was Stage 1 of the Dakar Rally, and I was able to move the King Shocks/ Toyo Tires SPEED Edition Textron XXR pass some cars through the stage, but I really tried to take it easy feeling out the car and working with Bill (Conger) to make each waypoint consistently without getting lost. The car had no problems as it ran flawlessly the entire stage. We are going to do a little bit of shock tuning over night to prepare for Stage 2. As they were a little soft today for the dunes, other than that the car ran great, and I am looking forward to Stage 2.

Robby Gordon and Team SPEED Return to 2019 Dakar Rally

Charlotte, NC (December 11, 2018) – Robby Gordon and Team SPEED will return to the 2019 Dakar Rally with three SPEED Edition Textron Off-Road XX’s and competing in the car category. The vehicles will have sponsorship from Toyo Tires, King Off-Road Racing Shocks & SPEED Energy Drink.

Gordon will drive his familiar bright orange and black SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires/ SPEED Edition Textron XX entry. Joining Team SPEED for their first Dakar Rally attempt, young Stadium SUPER Truck racers Blade Hildebrand and Cole Potts will field their own separate SPEED Edition Textron XX race vehicles.

Xavier Gavory, Director of the Dakar Rally, commented the following after learning of Gordon and Team SPEED’s return in 2019.

“The Dakar Rally is excited to welcome back Robby Gordon the most famous American competitor in it’s history. An absolute legend of the Dakar for his aggressive driving style and showmanship, Gordon and Team SPEED will be one of the teams to keep an eye on in the 2019 edition, 100% Peru, 100% Dakar.”

All three race vehicles will race on Toyo Open Country M/T tires, which will deliver the maximum Off-Road performance and durability needed to tackle the 10-Stage challenge; 3,107-miles (5,000 KM) through the extreme sands of Peru.

Gordon, a Dakar fan favorite, is no stranger to the event and will make his 13th start in the historic rally. Since his first Dakar Rally in 2005, Gordon’s vehicles have captured 17 stage wins & five top 15 overall finishes. Gordon became the first American in the history of the Dakar to capture a stage win and overall podium finish, even as a manufacture.

Joining Gordon in the cockpit of the SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires / SPEED Edition Textron XX will be his previous 4-time Dakar navigator and Dakar special winner, Kellon Walch.

“Kellon has been my navigator for three out of my last four Dakar’s. I fully intend to come to Peru to compete for the overall, and there is no better person to have in the right seat than Kellon. The in-car communication and mechanical skills between the both of us over the years allows me to have the trust to concentrate on driving,” stated Gordon.

For the first time since 2010, Team SPEED will enter two additional racecars in the Rally with Stadium SUPER Trucks racers Blade Hildebrand and Cole Potts driving their own SPEED Edition Textron XX’s.

Hildebrand, whom spent 2018 in his first season behind the wheel of his Empire Destructive Stadium SUPER Truck, claimed eight top 5 finishes, while reaching the podium twice.

“DAKAR, Yeah it’s that real! This is a race I’ve followed all my life, and to represent Team SPEED and the USA at the international level, competing against the worlds best off-road racers in the most grueling race known to man. What an absolute honor! To partner with King Shocks, Toyo Tires, and my mentor Robby Gordon, I have the right people on my side, and I am ready for the ultimate challenge.” Commented Hildebrand on the Dakar experience.

Jonah Street, a motorcycle veteran whom has competed in six prior editions of the Dakar (2006-2012), will navigate for his second Dakar, sitting along side of Hildebrand.

“I think Blade is super talented, so getting to work with him in his first trip to Dakar is going to be awesome. Having navigated for Sheldon (Creed) back in 2016 gives me the prior experience to help get him up to SPEED quickly!” Street commented in regards to competing with Blade.

Cole Potts, who also competes in the Stadium SUPER Trucks Series, is a talented young racer who claimed victory in just his second SST race of the season, driving the HallmarkTrust.com SST entry.

An excited Potts commented on the Dakar Rally.

“Having this unique opportunity to participate in the 2019 Dakar Rally, with Team SPEED and Robby Gordon in a SPEED Edition Textron XX is an absolute honor. Having raced North America’s toughest off road races already, I’m very interested to see how Dakar compares to them. With the opportunity to compete in the Dakar in the country of Peru is an exciting opportunity. As we are going to be able to tackle some of the world’s toughest sand dunes and witness some beautiful terrain.”

Max Eddy, a veteran motorcycle racer, has claimed victory in the Baja 1000 and Vegas to Reno, will navigate for Potts, providing the driver with extensive course detail and direction.

“Cole has proved to be an excellent competitor this year in the Stadium SUPER Trucks series as well as in the desert with the Trophy Truck. I am confident Cole will be able to adjust to the XX, and course conditions easily to get a respectable finish in each Stage.” Stated Eddy.

Beginning on January 6th in Lima, Peru, competitors will gather in front of more than a hundred thousand fans on the worlds stage for the traditional Dakar opening ceremonies. Each team in the rally is recognized prior to the start. Stage 1 will feature a short 84 km special with a 247 km liaison bringing the competitors from Lima to the Southeast along the Pacific coast to the port city of Pisco.

Follow the quest for an American podium finish in the 2019 Dakar Rally for Team SPEED through live timing and scoring on Dakar.com, updates at http://www.SpeedEnergy.com, https://stadiumsupertrucks.com, and http://www.planetrobby.com.

Updates will also be available throughout the entire rally on https://www.facebook.com/StadiumSuperTrucks, and https://www.facebook.com/SPEEDSXS, https://www.facebook.com/PlanetRobby.

Instagram pages of RobbyGordon, SSuperTrucks, and SpeedSXS will also be updated daily with content.

NBC Sports Network will produce daily television highlights, and interviews throughout the rally, starting January 7 at 7:00 PM ET featuring Team SPEED drivers and navigators.

The 2019 Dakar Rally would not be possible without the support of the following great partners; Textron Off-Road, Toyo Tires, KING Off-Road Racing Shocks, SPEED Energy, KMC Wheels, SPEEDSXS.com VP Racing Fuels, DeVilbiss, Hawk Performance, IMPACT, Mastercraft Safety, Ron Davis Racing Products, Lincoln Electric, Torchmate by Lincoln Electric, Techni Waterjet, Eibach Springs, Rugged Radios, Loctite, Race Case Design, and all the hard work from the staff at Team SPEED.

11th Place Finish For Robby Gordon In Stage 11

SAN JUAN, Argentina (January 14, 2016) – Robby Gordon and Kellon Walch survived another very difficult special on Thursday, during Stage 11 of the 38th Annual Dakar Rally. Navigating the specially built HST Gordini Supercar through complex portions of heavy sand, high-speed gravel roads, and dust the duo safely reached the stage finish in the eleventh position.

Starting the challenging stage in the fifteenth position, Gordon raced out to a blistering pace tearing through the bumps and dust to advance comfortably into the ninth position by km 100.

“The course started rough, almost like whoops, and it really favored the Gordini with the big Toyo Tires on it,” explained navigator Kellon Walch. “Then we started to get into the bottom of river beds and the route was faster and smoother.”

Flirting with the top ten throughout the special Gordon kept a consistent pace of the leaders, not taking any risks of damaging the Toyo Tires/TRAXXAS Gordini. As any experienced Dakar racer knows taking the checkered flag in Rosario on Saturday to finish the 13-stage race is just as important and claiming a stage victory.

Gordon finished the stage in the eleventh position, with a time of 5 hours, 11 minutes, and 54 seconds. Only 22 minutes, and 38 seconds behind defending Dakar Rally Champion Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar, whom claimed his second stage win of 2016, finishing Stage 11 in a time of 4 hours, 49 minutes, 16 seconds.

Early overall leader Sebastien Loeb claimed the second spot with a time of 4 hours, 55 minutes, 08 seconds. While Mikko Hirvonen of Finland rounded out the podium with a time of 4 hours, 56 minutes, and 17 seconds. Frenchman Stephan Peterhansel was credited with fourth in a time of 4 hours, 57 minutes, 21 seconds, with Saudi Arabia driver Yazeed Alrajhi would claim his second top-five of the rally with a time of 5 hours, 1 minute, and 13 seconds.

After eleven grueling stages of the 2016 Dakar Rally, Peterhansel holds the overall lead over second place Al-Attiyah by 51 minutes, and 55 seconds. While South African Ginel De Villers claim’s the third position 1 hour, 17 minutes, 24 seconds back, followed by Hirvonen in the fourth position 1 hour, 22 minutes, 47 seconds behind. LeeRoy Poulter rounds out the top five with a time of 1 hour, 33 minutes, 58 seconds.

Robby Gordon’s eleventh place finish today moves into the twenty-seventh position in the overall standings 10 hours, 38 minutes, and 55 seconds behind the winning pace of Peterhansel.

Friday the cars will race from San Juan to Villa Carlos Paz in Stage 12. The longest stage of rally (900 km) will start with an exceptionally long liaison, which despite the slower speeds, will still put additional stress on the already strained race engines and drivers. The first transfer section is followed by the 481-kilometer timed race through the semi-mountainous terrain, lined with vegetation on both sides of the course making it super tight in locations.

Follow the quest for an American finish in the 2016 Dakar Rally for Team SPEED through live timing and scoring as well as live updates with chat at http://www.planetrobby.com and https://stadiumsupertrucks.com

NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will provide daily highlights after each stage of the 2016 Dakar Rally at 5:30 p.m. ET. Check your local listings for exact time and channel for availability.

Team SPEED Suffers Major Set Backs in Stage 8 of the 2016 Dakar Rally

BELEN, Argentina (January 9, 2016) – Following a respectable eleventh-place finish in the seventh stage of the 38th Dakar Rally, Robby Gordon and Team SPEED would have high hopes for the second half of the rally following the rest day on Sunday. However, those hopes were put to the side early on in Stage 8 as both Robby Gordon and Sheldon Creed would encountered major set backs costing them valuable time on track.

Robby Gordon would start the stage in the eleventh position, within striking distance of the dominant leaders, but shortly after the start of the stage Gordon would make contact with a large rock causing extensive damage to the right front wheel. Teammate twenty-second starting Sheldon Creed would need to stop on course to assist Gordon with the repairs to his HST Gordini.

Although Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch were able to repair the damaged right front and get back up to race speed, the Toyo Tires/TRAXXAS HST Gordini lost over an hour of time and was passed by majority of the vehicles on the course during maintenance.

Shortly after assisting Gordon, Sheldon Creed would ran into his own problems as he became stuck in the sand, and would burn up the clutch, requiring additional assistance. As Creed and navigator Jonah Street were assessing the situation and attempting to make repairs with their distress beacon on, another competitor would come barreling through where they were and strike the Toyo Tires/KMC Wheels Gordini, causing extensive right and left side damage. Between the clutch issues and damage to the vehicle Creed was left significantly behind on the racecourse, but still able to press on once all was repaired.

Gordon who was able to press on and run nearly 300 km smoothly after repairs, would come to a rest again just kilometers from the finish with another issue. In the process of pushing the Gordni so hard to gain time back on the leaders, Gordon would over work the transmission and burn up the gears. Unable to get the car to move again, Gordon would look for a tow back to the bivouac. Luckily a T4 truck competitor strapped on, and towed the Toyo Tires/TRAXXAS HST Gordini to the finish at a blistering pace of nearly 80 mph. Despite being towed, Gordon will be able to start the ninth stage of the Rally on Tuesday provided there are no terminal engine issues.

Gordon would finish the stage in the sixtieth position, 7 hours, 54 minutes, and 46 seconds behind the leader, while Sheldon Creed would limp his beaten and battered Gordni home in the sixty-sixth position spot, 5 hours, 39 minutes, and 17 seconds behind.

Qatar driver Nasser Al-Attiyah picked up his first Stage win of 2016, winning Stage 8 in a time of 4 hours, 12 minutes, 23 seconds, followed closely by Spaniard Carlos Sainz at 4 hours, 12 minutes, 35 seconds, just 12 seconds behind. French drivers Stephan Peterhansel completed the stage in 4 hours, 12 minutes, and 54 seconds to finish third, while fellow countryman Cyril Despres finished fourth with a time of 4 hours, 17 minutes, 3 seconds. Mikko Hirvonen of Finland would round out the top five with a time of 4 hours, 19 minutes, and 5 seconds.

After eight stages of the 2016 Dakar Rally Peterhansel has moved back into the overall lead today after Stage 7 overall leader Loeb would flip over and loose over an hour making repairs. Sainz would claim the second position 2 minutes, 9 seconds back, followed by Stage 8 Winner Al-Attiyah in the third position 14 minutes, and 43 seconds back. Hirvonen holds the fourth position trailing 36 minutes, 42 seconds, while South African Leeroy Poulter holds the fifth position 49 minutes, 32 seconds behind.

The troubles Robby Gordon had in Stage 8 dropped him considerably in the overall standings to thirty-seventh place 7 hour, 54 minutes, and 46 second behind. Creed would also drop to the forty-second spot 9 hours, 12 minutes, 1 second back. Luckily for Team SPEED there is still five stages left to cut into their deficit in hopes of a top twenty overall finish and a Stage win.

Tuesday’s ninth stage of the rally will bring competitors on their second marathon stage, on a loop northwest of the city of Belen, Argentina through scattered dunes, river beds, and harder terrains and back to the bivouac in Belen before night fall. The scenario of Stage 9 is highly suited for the HST Gordini to do well, as long as navigators Kellon Walch and Jonah Street are able to keep a clear head and make the right navigational choices, you will see driver Gordon and Creed move up considerably from their deep in the field starting positions.

Follow the quest for an American podium finish in the 2016 Dakar Rally for Team SPEED through live timing and scoring as well as live updates with chat at http://www.planetrobby.com and https://stadiumsupertrucks.com

NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will provide daily highlights after each stage of the 2016 Dakar Rally at 5:30 p.m. ET. Check your local listings for exact time and channel for availability.

Robby Gordon Claims 8th Place in Stage 5 of the 2016 Dakar Rally, Creed Finishes in 33rd

UYUNI, Bolivia (January 7, 2016) – Backing up his first top-ten finish during Stage 4, Robby Gordon claimed the eighth position on Thursday as Stage 5 brought competitors into the scenic country of Bolivia for the first time.

Starting the day in the 10th position, Gordon raced out to a blistering pace catching ninth place starter Argentina’s Orlando Terranova, and eighth place starter Nani Roma right out of the gate. Gordon would buzz Terranova 15-20 times for him to move over and allow them go by, but Terranova did not obey.

Being stuck in his dust would slow down the pace for Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch as they would make sure to hit each checkpoint and speed zone. The HST Gordini would get stuck for about 3 minutes towards the end of the special allowing the leaders to get away, forcing Gordon to finish Stage 5 in a time of 3 hours, 41 minutes, 54 seconds. Just 9 minutes, 20 seconds behind France’s Sebastien Loeb.

Sheldon Creed driving the second HST Gordini started the fifth stage in the 26th position, and experienced a day to remember for the young Dakar rookie. Starting off the stage in a conservative manor Creed passed three cars right away thru a large wash section, but would experience his first flat of the rally shortly after forcing him and navigator Jonah Street to stop and change it loosing valuable time.

Problems however did not stop there, as rain would visit the competitors once again. Normally that would not be an issue, but Creed’s windshield wipers stopped working during Stage 4. Being the first portion of a marathon stage mechanics were not allowed to work on the vehicles overnight. As the windshield began to fog up and visibility became very difficult Creed and Street opted to kick a hole in the glass to free up an area to see clearly. Creed would finish go on to finish the fifth stage in a time of 4 hours, 19 minutes, and 21 seconds in the 33 position, 46 minutes and 47 seconds behind the winner.

Loeb would go on to win Stage 5 in a time of 3 hours, 32 minutes, 34 seconds, followed closely by Spain’s Carlos Sainz at 3 hours, 32 minutes, 56 seconds. Stage 4 winner Stephan Peterhansel completed the stage in 3 hours, 35 minutes, and 34 seconds to finish third. Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar finished fourth with a time of 3 hours, 35 minutes, 41 seconds, while South Africa’s Leeroy Poulter would round out the top five in 3 hours, 38 minutes, and 41 seconds.

After five stages Loeb has increased his overall lead over Peterhansel by 7 minutes, and 48 seconds, followed by Carlos Sainz whom jumped back into the third position after Stage 5 with a time of 13 minutes, and 26 seconds back. Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah moves back to the fourth position trailing 14 minutes, 16 seconds, while South Africa’s Leeroy Poulter drops back to the fifth position 18 minutes, 38 seconds behind. After being assessed a 1 hour, 3 minute penalty during Stage 2, Robby Gordon currently sits in the twenty-fourth position 1 hour, 48 minutes, 52 second behind. Sheldon Creed’s holds claim to the twenty-eighth position 1 hour, 15 minutes, 51 seconds behind the leader Loeb after his minor visibility issues during Stage 5.

Friday’s sixth stage (723 km/ 449 mi) will take drivers on the longest special of the 2016 Rally, going 542 km (337 mi) deep into the Andes Mountains North of Uyuni, Bolvia, making a loop and heading back south to Uyuni for the evening. The competitors will once again hit the extreme altitudes between 3,500 m (11,483 ft) to 4,200 m (13,780 ft), which will fatigue the drivers and race machines as the pace and surfaces are ever altering throughout the stage between rock and sand. If weather becomes an issue again as it has since the start of the rally, this stage will see more competitors rally come to an end early.

Team SPEED Rebounds in Dakar Rally Stage 3 with Robby Gordon Finishing 16th and Sheldon Creed 25th

SAN SALVADOR DE JUJUY, Argentina (January 5, 2016) – Team SPEED drivers Robby Gordon and Sheldon Creed successfully rebounded from Stage 2 struggles in the 38th Annual Dakar Rally to finish the weather shortened Stage 3 from Termas De Rio Hondo to San Salvador De Jujuy respectively in the 16th and 25th positions.

Robby Gordon, starting 24th after a troublesome second stage, which involved getting stuck in the mud and loosing 15 minutes to the leaders, would manage to drive aggressively and overtake 8 cars in Tuesday’s weather shortened 200 km (124.3 mi) special, which presented slick course conditions and difficult visibility for a second day.

Gordon’s finishing time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 7 seconds cut valuable time off his deficit to the leaders, and would give Gordon a much better starting position in Wednesday’s loop stage.

Team SPEED teammate Sheldon Creed after being accessed a 3-minute penalty after Monday’s Stage 2, Creed would start in the 37th position on Tuesday.

Showing the world why he is the 2015 Stadium SUPER Trucks champion and X-Games Gold Medalist, Creed did not let his age and lack of rally experience get in his way advancing twelve positions to finish with a time of 2 hours 24 minutes, 20 seconds, just 14 minutes, and 41 seconds behind the leader.

France’s Sebastien Loeb would win the stage in a time of 2 hours, 9 minutes, 39 seconds. Spain’s Carlos Sainz followed at 2 hours, 11 minutes , 2 seconds while defending Dakar Champion Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar ran the stage in 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 4 seconds to finish third. Giniel de Villiers of South Africa finished fourth with a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, 41 seconds, while Mikko Hirvonen of Finland finish fifth in 2 hours, 12 minutes, and 28 seconds.

After two stages Loeb holds the overall lead over de Villiers by 5 minutes, and 3 seconds. Followed by France’s Stephan Peterhansel in third 5 minutes, and 5 seconds back. Hirvonen holds the fourth position 5 minutes, 52 seconds behind, while Al-Attiyah rounds out the top five 6 minutes, and 39 seconds back. Robby Gordon sits in the seventeenth overall position 27 minutes, and 25 seconds behind, with teammate Sheldon Creed holds the twenty-ninth position 53 minutes, 40 seconds behind leader Loeb.

Wednesday’s fourth stage (629 km/391 mi, with a 429 km/ 266 mi special) will take drivers around a loop beginning in San Salvador De Jujuy, and traveling well into the Andes Mountains reaching elevations of 3,500 meters (11,483 feet). This will be a challenge not only the drivers, but the cars as well. The high altitude mixed with the summer temperatures of the southern hemisphere, and the incessant changes in pace resulting from alternating sandy and rocky terrain will have exhausted drivers and cars itching to return back to the San Salvador De Jujuy bivouac for the night.

Follow the quest for an American podium finish in the 2016 Dakar Rally for Team SPEED through live timing and scoring as well as live updates with chat at http://www.planetrobby.com and https://stadiumsupertrucks.com

NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will provide daily highlights after each stage of the 2016 Dakar Rally at 5:30 p.m. ET. Check your local listings for exact time and channel for availability.

Robby Gordon 22nd, Sheldon Creed 33rd In Stage 2 Of The 2016 Dakar Rally

TERMAS DE RIO HONDO, Argentina (January 4, 2016) – After a cancellation of the first stage on Sunday due to inclement weather, Americans Robby Gordon and Sheldon Creed would roll their identically prepared SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HST Gordini supercars to the starting line and take the green flag of Stage 2 on Monday morning.

However, like the previous day it was known right away that weather would play a huge factor in the outcome of the stage as Rally officials would shorten the special from 521 km (323.7 mi) to 387 km (240.5 mi) as the risk of low lying clouds and darkness would threaten to ground safety aircraft during the later moments of the year’s longest special.

Dealing with a hilly rain soaked course with over flowing streams and rivers, Team SPEED knew they would have their work cut out for them in the first challenge of the 38th Annual Dakar Rally.

Starting in the 29th position Robby Gordon broke out to a blistering pace working his way up to the 15th position by km 120 just 3 minutes and 51 seconds behind leader Sebastian Loeb. But like any form of racing qualifying in the front has drastic advantages, especially in off-road racing, and today was no different as competitors who started further back dealt with a chewed up race course.

Shortly after the km 170 mark Gordon would find an obstacle that was too just much for the SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / TRAXXAS HST Gordini to bare as it came to rest stuck in a thick bog of deep mud. While Gordon and Navigator Kellon Welch accessed and worked themselves out of the situation, 15 minutes were lost to the leader once back on course and moving.

Gordon would go on to finish Stage 2 in 4 hours, 3 minutes and 22 seconds, 17 minutes and 17 seconds behind the time set by stage winner and overall leader Sebastian Loeb of France who finished in a time of 3 hours, 45 minutes and 46 seconds.

“Things were going really good today, and we just got stuck, it’s very unfortunate to give up all that time to the leaders,” stated Gordon after Stage 2.

With 11 stages remaining Gordon has plenty of time to make up as much of the 17 minute and 17 second deficit as possible, and try to add to his impressive ten career stage victories throughout his 11-year Dakar career.

Team SPEED teammate and 2015 SST Champion Sheldon Creed re-wrote the Dakar history books today by becoming the youngest competitor in the history of the Dakar Rally at the bright age of 18 to start a stage. Creed would race a respectable and smart race finishing his first Dakar stage in a time of 4 hours, 20 minutes, and 54 seconds, just 35 minutes and 8 seconds behind the leader Loeb.

Tuesday’s third stage (663 kilometers/412 miles) will take drivers from Termas De Rio Hondo to San Salvador De Jujuy through one of the most beautiful regions in Argentina. The stage was designed for those hunting down the leaders opportunities to make advances. Gordon has no other choice, but to drive hard and finish among the top fifteen in hopes of an improved starting position for future stages.

Follow the quest for an American podium finish in the 2016 Dakar Rally for Team SPEED through live timing and scoring as well as live updates with chat at http://www.planetrobby.com and https://stadiumsupertrucks.com

Stage 1 Of The 2016 Dakar Rally Cancelled Due To Bad Weather

VILLAS CARLOS PAZ, Argentina (January 3, 2016) – American teammates Robby Gordon and Sheldon Creed will need to wait until Monday morning to begin their attempt at the 38th Annual Dakar Rally, as rally organizers cancelled the first special Sunday morning from Rosario to Villa Carlos Paz due to treacherous heavy rains and low lying clouds throughout the area.

Due to the extreme weather conditions all aircraft would remain grounded along the racecourse, making it impossible for ASO officials to guarantee the proper safety of competitors.

Once the stage was officially cancelled for the day Gordon and Creed were sent on there way down the rained soaked racecourse and highway under transit section rules to safely insure their No. 312 and No. 337 SPEED Energy/ Toyo Tires/ TRAXXAS HST Gordini Supercar’s would make it to the evenings bivouac in Villa Carlos Paz.

Gordon, who was scheduled to start 25th in Sunday’s cancelled first stage, will roll off the line in the same position for Monday’s marathon stage to Termas De Rio Hondo, while first time Dakar competitor Sheldon Creed will start in the 38th position.

Deemed to be the longest and trickiest special of the 2016 Rally, an initial link section of 70 km (43.5 mi) long will take the competitors to the start of the second special. With nearly 510 km’s (317 mi) of racing on an ultra fast course both HST Gordini’s will unleash showing the 109 competitors in the car class their first initial threat, making up extensive ground to the frontrunners.

Follow the quest for an American podium finish in the 2016 Dakar Rally for Team SPEED through live timing and scoring as well as live updates with chat at http://www.planetrobby.com and https://stadiumsupertrucks.com

Team SPEED is supported by the following partners; SPEED Energy, Toyo Tires, TRAXXAS, KMC Wheels, Arctic Cat, 4 Wheel Parts, Grand Design Recreational Vehicles, Magnaflow Exhaust, Eibach Springs, King Shocks, Outlaw LED, Mastercraft Safety, Holley Performance, Embee Performance, MAC Tools, DeWALT, Freightliner Trucks, Replay XD, Valvoline, Impact by Mastercraft Safety, Lincoln Electric, Torchmate by Lincoln Electric, Ron Davis Racing Products, Techni Waterjet, Mechanix Wear, Saftey-Kleen, Weddle Industries, and Loctite.

Stage 2: Villa Carlos Paz – Termas De Rio Hondo

Special Sections: 521 km (323.7 mi)
Total: 858 km (533.1 mi)

The statistics speak for themselves: with around 800 kilometers to cover depending on the category, the day will be very long. There is a significant distance to cover in both the special and the liaison sections: although the terrain presents no real difficulties, the relatively fast tracks may already benefit those who love hills and crossing rivers and who can keep up high speeds over the whole distance. Cars and trucks entitled to an extension on this day.