Just over 20 days to the start of the Dakar Rally 2019, Xtreme Plus Team is preparing for one of the most intense and famous races of the motorsport.The 41st edition of the Dakar will take place in Peru on 6th January 2019 spanning over two weeks. The crews will face ten stages covering more than 5.000 km with 70% of the course across sand dunes. With the SXS titles won in both FIA Cross-Country World Cup and Baja 1000 in last weeks, Xtreme+ Team is now ready to deploy 5 crews at the starting line of this new prestigious adventure.
With the Polaris RZR 1000 Turbo (#341) Eric Abel and co-driver Christian Manez, both from France, will participate in the Dakar Rally for the first time after having competed in the Merzouga Rally that takes place in Morocco every year since its inception. The two friends have a long history of rally-raid and are well prepared for arguably their toughest rally yet.
From Poland, the driver Maciej Domzala, with Rafal Marton, Polaris RZR 1000 Turbo #376, will be at the starting line of the second rally in his career (the first being the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge where he achieved second place). His overall goal is to reach the Dakar finish line. Maciej will compete alongside the highly-experienced Rafal, who has participated in the Dakar Rally more than 10 times, as well as Polish, European and Cross-Country World Rally championships.
The mexican driver Santiago Garcia Creel is another first-time pilot for the Dakar Rally but is no stranger to racing. In past years, he has competed in a host of off-road series and had triumphs within the Baja 1000, Baja 500 and the San Felipe 250. More recently, he participated in three major competitions in order to prepare for the Dakar Rally; the Tijuana Desert Challenge, the Rallye du Maroc and the Baja 1000. Creel will be sailed by the co-pilot Szymon Gospodarczyk (from Poland): he is well-versed in off-road competitions winning the FIA Rally World Cup T3 title in 2016 and completing the Dakar Rally in 2018 in third position as part of the Xtreme Plus team. They will drive the Polaris RZR 1000 Turbo number 362.
With the number #359, Ronald Basso and Julien Menard, driver and co-pilot from France, have competed together in the Merzouga Rally, Baja Portalegre 500 and Dakar in the car category. Ronald Basso and former European Karting champion Julien Menard have a lot of experience racing in challenging conditions together. Ronald and Julien both achieved third position in the Polaris RZR at the African Merzouga Rally in 2017.
Xtreme Plus Team Manager Marco Piana and co-pilot Steven Griener will be competing with a Toyota Land Cruiser to support the rest of the Polaris Xtreme+ Team. For five years in a row, Steven joined Marco in the fast assistance car, pathing the way to the numerous Xtreme Plus successes across the years. In 2018, Steven joined Patrice Garrouste in the Polaris RZR Turbo as co-pilot, achieving an incredible second place. This year, the pair will once again provide the crucial support to help all teams across the Dakar finish line.
“We have competed in the Dakar Rally seven times with the Polaris RZR and our team success this year has shown that it is more than capable and ready for the unforgiving dunes in Peru – said the Team Manager Marco Piana - Our aim is to win the 2019 T3 title but cutting the finish line for all of our teams will always remain the first goal. Everyone in our team has the power to win because they all have good experience and a very competitive vehicle so we’re confident 2019 will be a good year for the whole Xtreme Plus Team”.
To make the dream of Dakar possible, the Xtreme Plus pilots and co-pilots have a strong team of mechanics, organisers and truck drivers behind them with a total of five support vehicles (2 Man 4x4, 1 Renault Mascot, 1 Renault Kerax and a Ford 150) available from bivouac to bivouac in addition to the fast assistance vehicle engaged in the race.
Source: Xtreme+ press release