South Racing Can-Am Team’s Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin overcame the final nervy 120km of a punishing and energy-sapping 2018 Dakar Rally to seal a memorable victory in the SxS category. The Brazilians began the final day with a lead of 53:28 minutes and knew that a risk-free strategy was the only way to play the short timed test. Varela was sixth into the last stage and he carded a final time of 01:53:59 hours to seal the win and finish 57:37 minutes in front of Frenchman Patrice Garrouste and Swiss navigator Steven Griener (Polaris Xtremeplus) in the overall SxS classification.
The six surviving ATVs in the SxS category left the start of the final 120km special stage in reverse order. That meant that the Argentinean duo of Leonel Larrauri and Fernando Imperatrice were first into the stage in the second of the South Racing Can-Am Team’s Maverick X3s.
They kept their vehicles in one piece over the nervy final kilometers to reach the stage finish in a time of 1hr 45:55 minutes. That gave them the quickest time and confirmed their finish in a distant 6th overall in the final SxS rankings, but celebrating a first stage win in front of a home crowd was a special moment for the duo.
"It was a great way to finish the Dakar with a 1-2 stage performance," said South Racing Team Manager Scott Abraham. "Leo has been trying to find his rhythm and it’s paid off with the stage win. Reinaldo brought the car home and did what he needed to do. It was the first race out with the Can-Am Maverick X3. It was a dominant performance from the team and the car has shown it has a huge amount of potential for the future."
"The real heroes of this Dakar have been the mechanics who, of the 13 stages, worked through 11 of the nights. Without them, and the long hours they put in, we would not be here today. They deserve a huge amount of thanks and have my respect for life."
Photos: South Racing Team
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