Can Robby Gordon Win the Lisbon to Dakar Rally?

January 17th, 2007 by William


After winning the Baja 1000 Robby Gordon had high hopes for his third run at the infamous Dakar Rally. This year Gordon is driving a fully customized H3 Hummer desert race truck with all the bells and whistles. While a little on the big side for some of the tighter sections the hope was that the big hummer would dominate in the open desert and dunes with its powerful engine and massive amounts of suspension travel.

Starting out in Lisbon, Gordon hung tight for the first stage staying close to the front of the pack through the tight sandy course. While not stellar, his performance was strong enough to put him with in striking distance of the leaders during the higher speed stages, however the next day the team suffered a speeding penalty and an off course excursion which set them back into 46th place for the day and 18th in the overall standings. The next day Team Dakar USA and the Monster Energy Toyo Tire Hummer (sound like NASCAR?) made up some ground on the faster 3rd stage only to have their fortunes turn with a fuel problem in stage four.

It turned out this fuel problem had nothing to do with the vehicle itself but was simply tainted gas. However, after limping the Hummer through much of the stage due to low horsepower from the bad gas, and lot of diagnosing time, the team fell way off the pace. The poor performance in stage 4 meant that Gordon had to start from the 77th position. Unfazed by his bad luck Gordon had a brilliant drive and brought the Hummer in with a 15th place finish good enough to bump the team up to 36th in the overall classification.

Gordon during the 5th stage

As is often the case in the Dakar rally things come in waves, both good and bad, and Gordon’s good fortune continued for stage 6. After a night of wind and rain, the dust subsided the next day and conditions proved to be perfect for the H3 Hummer. Robby Gordon went on to capture the stage win becoming the first American Team to do so in this year’s event. The victory gave the team a large boost in morale and bumped them up to 19th in the overall standings. Over the next few stages the team had a mixed luck, but most of it was good. With some great driving and good strategy for the longer marathon stage, the team broke into the top 10 of the standings. After 9 grueling stages Team Dakar USA is now in 8th position overall. Gordon himself remains very upbeat as there is still a great deal of racing left. When speaking of the 10th stage Gordon said “Tomorrow we are going to try to win the special. I think the special is especially well suited to the Hummer so the 10th stage might be Hummer time.”

U S A! U S A! U S A!

I should also mention that US driver Mark Miller, who is driving a diesel Volkswagen Toureg, is currently 6th in the overall standings. This means there are two very legitimate contenders to become the first American ever to capture a victory in the Dakar Rally, and one of them is an entirely American team, car and driver. I’m actually not a big Robby Gordon fan and I really don’t like Hummers, but I would love to see one of these teams snag a victory for the US, so go get ‘em boys.

For more coverage of the event go to or watch the Versus Network.

-Bill Mertz

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