Gas Gas Rally Team to compete the 2018 Dakar Rally
Jonathan Barragán, Johnny Aubert and Cristian España & Giovanni Sala
Following a two-year absence, Gas Gas makes its return to the 2018 Dakar Rally which will cover 8000km and travel through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina starting this Saturday, January 6, with the Gas Gas Rally Team to include Jonathan Barragán, Johnny Aubert and Cristian España, and led by Giovanni Sala.
The return to the endurance test is one more example of the rapid growth experienced by Gas Gas under the business management of Iván Contreras and financial support from Black Toro Capital. In just two years they have made it possible for the company to be re-born from the ashes, to now having a brand new enduro range and enduro competition team.
Iván Contreras – CEO of Torrot
“It’s a question of pride to return to a historic brand such as Gas Gas to the world elite of motorcycling with its participation in a rally with the demands of the Dakar. This is the confirmation that we have managed to turn around the Company situation and position it again as a world leader in off-road motorcycling. Our expectation this year is to race again in this type of competition to have greater aspirations in the near future.”
Gas Gas once again is counting on Johnny Aubert who had already been a part of the Gas Gas team in the 2012 edition, where the French rider managed to finish in an outstanding 14th position. The double world champion of enduro will be accompanied by the Spanish rider Jonathan Barragán, who is making his debut in this mythical race, and Andorran rider Cristian España, participating for the third time in the Dakar after winning the Marathon category last year and finishing 21st in the general standings.
The Gas Gas Rally Team is looking forward to its return to the Dakar, starting on Saturday, January 6th in Lima, the capital of Peru and ending on Saturday, January 20th in Cordoba, Argentina.
The Gas Gas Rally Team is led by one of the most knowledgeable experts in this event on his return to the Dakar, Giovanni Sala. The Italian foresees a very tough edition of this race, with lots of sand and where navigation will play a key role.
Sala has raced in this competition as a rider on 10 occasions and his best result was overall third, achieved in 2006. His extensive background added to his experience in the world of Enduro, will help him in his role as Team Manager of the Gas Gas Rally Team.
Giovanni Sala – Rally Team Manager
“All our riders have exceptional riding technique and great experience. Aubert and España have already participated in the Dakar, and for Barragán this will mean his debut, although it will be his second rally. The team has a very good feeling of camaraderie, something essential to face a ‘marathon’ as long as the Dakar. This 40th anniversary edition has been designed to return to the classic difficulties of this test, a challenging route with many kilometres between dunes and on sand, and with 2 stages without assistance. At a mechanical level, this experience will allow us to transmit our feelings to Gas Gas engineers, who in turn can reflect this in the bikes we offer our customers. Our first goal is for our three bikes to finish this demanding race. Then the challenge will be to get back to the ‘top ten’ of the final classification.”
“The Dakar has always been a dream for me. It’s an attractive but complicated challenge, because it’s two weeks long and I’ve never spent a fortnight racing on a motorcycle. Despite this, I believe that the time has come and we are ready to accept the opportunity that Gas Gas has given us.
I still have to get into the swing of the race, because this will be my first time competing. I know it will be a very hard rally and my goal is not to make big navigation mistakes, take care of the mechanics and avoid falls. We make a great team together with Johnny [Aubert] and Cristian [España], and I’m sure that Giovanni Sala’s experience in the Dakar will be of great help to us. This is our first Dakar as a team; Our goal is to complete each stage and have our three bikes finish the race, which would mean we have done a great job.”
“The Dakar has always been my dream. I already raced in the Dakar in 2012, but I was left with the feeling that I could demonstrate much more. That’s why I’m happy to be at the start of this magical race thanks to Torrot. I’m doing it with a very special team and brand, with a long tradition in ‘off-road’ and with important objectives to achieve. Our team is made up of passionately enthusiastic people, starting with Gio Sala, who I know from the Enduro World Championship, Jordi Arilla, Josep Maria Giralt and Jordi Grau amongst others.
I know that the coming Dakar will be long, intense and exciting. I’m still improving in the navigation section and I know I have to be patient; each day will be a step forward. My goal as a rider is the same as that of the team: I want to do everything possible to prove that Gas Gas is back. I want my bike to reach the end, along with those of my two companions.”
“The call from Gas Gas was a surprise. After the good results of the last few years, I knew that something like this could happen, but the truth is that it took me by surprise. We met, I was presented with the project and … I simply loved it! I am very happy to have signed up with a great brand like Gas Gas. I feel fortunate being a part of the official Gas Gas team, surrounded by people who are great professionals.
I am very motivated to face this new challenge in my sporting career. I have shown that I am a fast rider and that I can bring a lot of experience to the team, both on a personal level and as a navigator. We are leaving for the Dakar with a very clear premise, finish and help in every way so our three bikes to reach the end, in Cordoba.”
Barragán, Aubert and España will compete throughout the 14 stages – with one day of rest – to complete more than 8000 kilometres (4234 of them special) and race through three countries of the South American continent: Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. This year will be the 40th edition of the most iconic off-road event.