The five riders of the factory supported Husqvarna Rallye Team by Speedbrain begin the 2012 Dakar Rally, aiming to give the manufacturer stage wins and overall podiums at the end of the marathon event.
The quintet – Portuguese Paulo Goncalves, Spaniards Joan Barreda and Jose Manuel Pellicer, and Brazil´s Ike Klaumann and ZÃ© HÃ©lio – have all put in intensive preparation ahead of the marathon event.
Goncalves is expected to lead the team, as a veteran of five previous Dakars, with a single stage win to his name – coming in the 2011 event.
The bike – the new Husqvarna TE 449 RR by Speedbrain – has also been extensively tested before the event and is one of the lightest machines in the race, where all the bikes are a maximum of 450cc for the first year.
The first of the 14 competitive stages of the 2012 Dakar Rally is a relayively easy introduction for the competitors, the timed element comprising just 57km as the race moves away from the Atlantic coast at Mar del Plata and into the Argentine interior.
The Checkered Flag will be covering the 2012 Dakar Rally with daily reports on the stages, covering all four classes in the event.