The 2022 Dakar Rally is off: everything you need to know about the toughest race in the world

This Saturday the 2022 Dakar Rally ends
This Saturday the 2022 Dakar Rally ends

Started the 44th edition of the Dakar Rally, which for the third time will be held in Saudi Arabia. The engines will start this Saturday with the symbolic start in Jeddah, where for now there is no competitive climate. This year the toughest race in the world will have much more sand on its course than in 2021 and has the added value of being part of the World Rally Raid and Rally Cross Country Championships. Once again there will be an Argentine Legion and there are two pilots who will defend their titles.

Unlike the eleven years in South America with a massive presence of the public, this Saudi city does not promise a large turnout at the start. It is worth remembering the half a million people who approached Avenida 9 de Julio on January 2, 2009, in the heart of Buenos Aires, when the Argentine public fully turned to live that first edition in the region that shared a journey with Chili. Crowds were a constant in these two countries as well as in Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.

Infobae It is present in Saudi lands and this Saturday the activity began with the symbolic start this Saturday. The route will have more dunes, so it will be more in the classic style of the toughest competition in the world of motorsport, in which cars, motorcycles, trucks, ATVs and UTV vehicles will race. This time they will be 27 Argentines present if you count pilots and navigators.

The event had its symbolic start this Saturday, January 1 in Jeddah and a short section of speed of 19 kilometers. The 1,065 competitors will have 8,177 kilometers ahead, of which 4,258 will be timed, divided into 12 stages with a rest day (the seventh), in which the sand will be the main protagonist.

Nasser Al-Attiyah is a strong candidate for victory (REUTERS / Waleed Ali)
Nasser Al-Attiyah is a strong candidate for victory (REUTERS / Waleed Ali)

For the first time, the Dakar Rally will be part of the World Rally Raid Championships of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and the Cross Country Rally of the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM). This novelty came after several years of talks to finalize unified regulations together with Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), which is the French company that organizes the Dakar Rally, and which in turn will also be in charge of the five tests in the season 2022.

The electrification of vehicles will play an important role in the future. The ambitious plan of ASO, the organizer of the Rally, is that in 2030 the Dakar will be one hundred percent electric. Audi’s debut this year marks the way forward with its car the RS Q e-tron, which has three electric motors and one combustion engine, and as he learned Infobae, There are other brands interested in continuing on that path such as Toyota.

“It is another step in the history of the Dakar and the rally-raid, a very important step related to the energy transition through the implementation of the first phase of the Dakar Future plan. In the future we want all vehicles to be electric. We have thought of 2030 as the date. I do not know if we are going to get there, but we are at full capacity with this idea “, anticipated the director of the race, David Castera. In this regard, the FIA ​​created the T1-Ultimate category for cars, to which vehicles with alternative engines will be incorporated.

Castera for several years is responsible for putting together the course, even before assuming as the head of the competition. When the Dakar Rally came to South America, he took the trouble to travel several months before the event to put together the roadmaps on roads completely unknown to the participants.

The star of the race will be the Audi RS Q e-tron with three electric motors and one combustion engine (Audi Press)
The star of the race will be the Audi RS Q e-tron with three electric motors and one combustion engine (Audi Press)

Regarding the route for this edition, he indicated that “I have tried to make a more or less balanced route. I have saved the most complicated for last. Stage 11 for me is the most difficult, with many dunes. The key is going to be navigation. In number 11, what is not defined will be defined ”.

The new path that the competitors will have to challenge presents a renewal of “60-70%” according to the director of the test and the marathon stage (the one that is done without assistance from the teams and where the pilots and navigators will have to repair the vehicles if they are necessary) will be the third day.

The Dakar Rally is a race that consolidated the path of the so-called rally raid or rally, cross country or cross country. That is, unlike the conventional rally, here the roadmap leads the competitors to circulate through areas that are not roads and the route is made by the organization during the year, looking for the most difficult areas to make the competition more challenging. which consists of having a good navigation to be able to read the road book as well as possible. Motorcyclists and ATV pilots are the ones who have it more complicated, since as they drive they must see those references. The car and truck competitors have their navigators. This race stands out because it is not the fastest who wins, but the most consistent over two weeks. The strategist is usually the one who at the end of the marathon stays with the mythical Touareg, the trophy for the winner of the Dakar Rally. It also has its usual danger and so far it has claimed 33 fatalities.

The competition has two parts in each day, a timed and a link where participants drive to the next destination. This year there are twelve stages and the one with the best sum of times wins the race. It can also happen that if a pilot travels through an area that is not allowed or indicated on the route, he will suffer a time penalty and this will harm him in the classification.

Kevin Benavides will seek to defend his crown on motorcycles (@kevinmaxbenavides)
Kevin Benavides will seek to defend his crown on motorcycles (@kevinmaxbenavides)

Main candidates by categories:


It is the category that has the overall winner of the race, because they have the best times. Nasser Al Attiyah, stronghold of the official Toyota team and three-time winner of the Dakar Rally, appears as the main candidate for the new challenge that the Frenchman took on Stephane Peterhansel (the most winner in the history of the competition with 14 wins) and Carlos Sainz (three wins), regular cheerleaders, who are part of the new Audi team, who enter with an electric car and have no expectations for the victory. Your goal will be to develop the brand new vehicle in the best way possible.

Nasser’s opponents include his teammate, the South African. Giniel de Viliers (first winner in South America), the local Yazeed Al Rahji (with a Toyota Hilux, but from the Overdrive team) and the Polish Jakub Przygonski (Mini). The representatives of the Bahrain Raid Extreme squad join, with a Prodrive Hunter prototype, by the hand of the Spanish Nani Roma and from french Sebastien loeb. With a similar car the Mendoza will run Orly Terranova.


On the two wheels, among the top candidates are the defender of the crown, the Salta Kevin Benavides (last winner and now on KTM), his brother, Luciano (Husqvarna), the Australian Toby Price (KTM), English Sam Sunderland (KTM), Spanish Joan Barreda Bort (Honda), the American Ricky Brabec (Honda) and the Chileans Jose Cornejo (Honda) and Pablo Quintanilla (Honda).

Kamaz is the reference in trucks and seeks another victory, In the picture Andrey Karginov (REUTERS / Hamad I Mohammed)
Kamaz is the reference in trucks and seeks another victory, In the picture Andrey Karginov (REUTERS / Hamad I Mohammed)


As usual, the Russian legion of Kamaz appears as the main contender for another triumph: since 2000 he won in 18 times, and the last five consecutively. The strongholds of the Moscow navy are Dmitry Sotnikov (last winner), Anton Shivalov, Eduard Nikolaev y Andrey Karginov.

The references of Iveco, the Czech, will try to avoid their victory Martin Macik, and the Dutch Janus Van Kasteren y Martin Van Den Brink. Czech is added Ales loprais, with a Prague and the one who will look for a podium is the Chilean Ignacio Casale, which will compete with a Tatra. The Chaco will compete in this division Juan Manuel Silva, with a MAN. El Pato has extensive experience in the Dakar Rally where he debuted in 2011 and also had a successful track record where he was champion of TC 2000 (1999) and Road Tourism (2004).


In quadricycles, another Argentine will seek to defend the title, Manuel Andújar. The young man from Lobos has the Chilean as main challengers Young Enrico, another Argentine, Pablo Copetti; the French Alexander Giroud, the Polish Kamil Wisnieswki, and the experienced Paraguayan Nelson Sanabria, all competitors with the Yamaha 700s.

UTV o Side by side.

It is a category that since its presentation in 2017 has had a lot of growth because it is the least expensive and it was a good alternative for those who do not have a budget to run in cars. They are sandbox type vehicles and the British Thomas Bell will seek to retain the crown. They appear like their rivals the local Mashael Alobaida, the American Austin Jones and the Poles Aron Domzala Y Michal Goczal. They all use the Can-Am XRS model.

On the other hand, the Dakar Experience category is incorporated, which allowed amateur participants to start a stage without having finished the previous one, it is extended to all competitors in order to score points for the world championship.

The Dakar Classic will once again have historical jewels like this Peugeot 205 model that was able to win in 1987 and 1988 (REUTERS / Hamad I Mohammed)
The Dakar Classic will once again have historical jewels like this Peugeot 205 model that was able to win in 1987 and 1988 (REUTERS / Hamad I Mohammed)

As for the race vehicles, there will be a total of 430: 149 motorcycles, 21 quads, 97 cars, 58 trucks, 44 T3 light vehicles and 61 of the T4 class. Adding to these are the vehicles of the Dakar Classic separated in 128 cars and 20 trucks, which are replica and original vehicles from the first decades of the competition that began on December 26, 1978, when it left the French capital and hence its historic name Paris-Dakar.

The first of the twelve stages includes the departure in Jeddah and the caravan will head towards Ha’il, in the north of the country. From there you will travel to Riyadh, to the southeast, to return to the starting point. What he will not step on this year is finally the 650,000 km2 of the Empty Quarter desert.

Everything is ready for the 44th edition of the Dakar Rally and this Saturday the engines will start. The survivors will arrive in Jeddah on Friday, January 14, which will be the starting and finishing point of the competition. Completing it will be a triumph for most, as cheering for the toughest race in the world is a challenge and a great adventure.

Television, days and times:


Saturday, January 1

Start podium


09:30 BOL / VEN

08:30 COL / ECU / PER

07:30 MEX

I live on Star + and ESPN2

Friday 14

Arrival and final podium

Schedule to be confirmed

I live on Star + and ESPN2

From Monday 3 to Friday 14

Dakar, the summary


19:00 BOL / VEN

18:00 COL / ECU / PER

17:00 MEX

By Star + and ESPN3

Dakar, el show


22:00 BOL / VEN

21:00 COL / ECU / PER

20:00 MEX

By Star + and ESPN3


The Dakar Rally 2022 is already underway: what the toughest race in the world will be like
He got lost in the desert, created the Dakar, starred in a movie and died trying to rescue drivers
The incredible story of Margaret Thatcher’s pilot son: he missed 6 days during the Dakar and the event reached The Crown series, although with a clear error
Twenty years after the feat of “the queen of the desert”, the only woman who won the Dakar: she defeated prejudice and her former partner


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here