(ISN) – The world’s most prestigious and acclaimed rally departs from Buenos Aires on January 4. A gruelling 13 days later, the finish line will be crossed back in the Argentine capital by only the toughest competitors as they must first negotiate 9,000km of unforgiving terrain.

Along with stages in Argentina, the Dakar Rally will be contested within Chile’s Atacama Desert as well as among the ear-popping altitude of Bolivia. Only half of those who set off from Buenos Aires are expected to complete the rally such are the challenges that lay in store for man and machine.

Not scared by such slim odds of success are the Red Bull Desert Wings as they count among their ranks reigning champions, former winners and those hungry to taste Dakar success for the first time. Let’s meet the team coming to the party in 2015:


Stephane Peterhansel poses for a portrait at Peugeot Sport, Velizy-Villacoublay, France on March 18th, 2014
Stéphane Peterhansel
Carlos Sainz - Peugeot Total Dakar 2015 Driver
Carlos Sainz
Cyril Despres after Stage 9
Cyril Despres


Cyril Despres will be making his debut in the Car race as he joins Stéphane Peterhansel and 2010 Dakar champion Carlos Sainz behind the wheel of the fearsome Peugeot 2008 DKR. The trio of drivers have a total of 17 Dakar victories between them and will be assisted by co-drivers Gilles Picard, Jean-Paul Cottret and Lucas Cruz.


Marek Dabrowski Profile Image
Marek Dabrowski
Adam Malysz is happy about his new rally car during the presentation in Villers-le-Bouillet, Belgium on November 16th, 2012
Adam Małysz
Nasser Al-Attiyah Dakar 2015
Nasser Al-Attiyah
Giniel de Villiers won the last Stage
Giniel De Villiers

Preceding Cyril in switching from bike to car last time out was the Polish pair of Marek Dabrowski and co-driver Jacek Czachor who parked their Orlen Team Toyota in 7th place. Six places behind came their countrymen Adam Malysz and Rafal Marton and they’re also back in the race, this time in a two-wheel drive SMG Buggy.

Nasser Al-Attiyah returns in a Mini with new co-driver Mathieu Baumel as the duo look to repeat the Qatari’s 2011 Dakar victory. Another former champion out to recapture his crown is Giniel De Villiers as he arrives in South America accompanied by long-time co-driver Dirk Von Zitzewitz and the rest of the Toyota All Speed Team.


Marc Coma poses for a portrait during Dakar Team Preparations for 2014 in Erfoud, Morocco on October 10th, 2013
Marc Coma
Jordi Viladoms Dakar 2015
Jordi Viladoms
Sam Sunderland poses for a portrait in Almeria, Spain on October 27th, 2013
Sam Sunderland
Ruben Faria of Red Bull KTM Factory Team poses for a portrait during Dakar Team Preparations for 2014 in Erfoud, Morocco on October 10th, 2013
Ruben Faria

Motorbikes and Quad

For the two-wheeled competitors, the weight of expectation that comes with having won the previous 13 editions of the Bike race falls on the Red Bull KTM Factory Team. Last time out it was Marc Coma who won big with the Austrian manufacturer for the fourth time. Marc’s team-mates will be Jordi Viladoms, Ruben Faria and Sam Sunderland.


Jakub Przygonski Profile Image Profile Image
Jakub Przygonski
Matthias Walker in Marocco
Matthias Walkner
Helder Rodrigues poses for a portrait during the Dakar Team Preparations for 2014 in Almeria, Spain on October 27th, 2013
Hélder Rodrigues
Qatari quad rider Mohamed Abu Issa poses for a portrait during a photoshoot in Doha, Qatar on May 15th, 2014
Mohamed Abu Issa

Also onboard KTM machinery at the Dakar will be Kuba Przygonski of Orlen Team and Matthias Walkner of KTM Rally Factory Team.

Looking to wrestle the top prize away from KTM at the upcoming desert classic will be Honda with Team HRC’s ace in the pack Hélder Rodrigues

On the Quads there’s plenty of expectation that Mohammed Abu Issa, last year’s Rookies Cup winner, can emulate his countryman Nasser Al-Attiyah by winning motorsport’s toughest test.; background-position: 0px -1354px; background-repeat: no-repeat;”>

© Marcelo Maragni/Red Bull Content Pool


Team Kamaz Master once again stamped their authority on the Truck race in 2014 and team captain Vladimir Chagin is sending four vehicles into battle this time around. The crews will be led by drivers Andrey Karginov (2014 winner), Eduard Nikolaev (2013 winner), Ayrat Mardeev and Dmitry Sotnikov.