The 45th Dakar Rally will kick off on December 31, 2022 in Saudi Arabia. Regarded as one of the toughest races in the world, the event will see more than 1,000 participants in multiple categories attempt to traverse the majestic desert over a 14-day period and over 8,500 kilometers .
Dakar Rally is not for the faint of heart. It’s the test of a man or woman and their machine in extreme racing conditions. Dakar expects about 365 vehicles in the upcoming rally that will traverse sand dunes, mud, rocks and mountains along with unpredictable weather. With just a few hours to go until the opening ceremony of Dakar, here’s everything you need to know about the world’s most extreme protest.
1. Where will Dakar Rally 2023 be held?
Dakar Rally 2023 will take place entirely in Saudi Arabia. This is the fourth season of the protest taking place in the country, having been conducted in South America before. The original Dakar Rally race started in 1979 starting from Paris, France, in Europe to the Senegalese capital Dakar in Africa.
For this year, the route has been changed dramatically with the rally running 14 races compared to 12 races in the previous championship. The rally will start from the dedicated Sea Camp on the west coast of Saudi Arabia. The short 10km Prologue will begin on New Year’s Eve, placing the order of the participants for the first main leg.
2. How many kilometers does the participant travel in 14 stages?
Competitors will travel from the Red Sea to the east coast for a total distance of 8,549 km. This includes 4,706 km of special stages, which will be timed by the organizers. The rally will travel through major cities including AlUla, Ha’il and Riyadh over a 16-day period across Saudi Arabia with a holiday available on January 9, 2023, when the event is halfway through. way. Most of the second half of the Dakar Rally will be held on the east coast before the closing ceremony on January 15 in Dammam.
3. What are the new routes?
Dakar organizers have made significant changes to the route of this year’s rally to make it more challenging than before. The first week will be about competitors passing a combination of dunes, sand, quick and technical sections. This will be a test of the participants’ driving/riding skills as well as navigational techniques.
The second week will see a change of pace with more long runs along with a few short ones with lots of dunes interspersed. Competitors are expected to cross about 200 kilometers per day just on the dunes, which will test their endurance. Participants will cross the Empty Quarter sand desert during this time, where this year’s marathons will take place in Stages 11 and 12. This means that the riders will not receive any outside support. apart from the support team. They will have to completely rely on themselves to bring the vehicles to the finish line.
4. Who is participating in Dakar Rally 2023?
Dakar saw the participation of several major automakers as well as private companies. On the car side, the rally will see entries from brands like Toyota and Audi, as well as apparel like the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team run by M-Sport Prodrive, Century Racing, etc.
On the two-wheeler side, the event saw more active participation from manufacturers including key manufacturers like KTM, Yamaha, Honda, as well as our own Hero MotoSports Team Rally, which is the team. only India to participate in this championship.
5. Which drivers/riders should I watch out for?
Meanwhile, protest legend Nasser Al-Attiyah returns to Dakar and this will be his 19th time joining the rally. The driver has been crowned Dakar winner four times, which makes him a participant in need of attention. That said, other notable auto racers including Sébastien Loeb, Carlos Sainz, Mattias Ekström and Yazeed Al-Rajhi are also aiming for first place, who will be competing for first place.
As for the bike, Harith Noah will be the only Indian rider to participate in the Dakar Rally this time. Supported by TVS Racing, he will compete as a private in the event. Hero MotoSports also announced its racing team, which includes four riders including Joaquim Rodrigues, Ross Branch, Franco Caimi and Sebastian Buhler.
Previously, Indian drivers including CS Santosh (Hero), Aravind KP (TVS) and Ashish Raorane (Privateer) also competed in the rally. Some other names to watch out for include defending champion Sam Sunderland of Gas Gas, Ricky Brabec and Pablo Quintanella of Honda, Toby Price of KTM, etc.
First published date: December 30, 2022, 20:27 pm IST