It’s day three within the bivouac in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and South Racing Can-Am has simply wrapped their preparations for the beginning of Dakar 2022, a monumental race recognized for pushing rivals mentally and bodily over 7,000 kilometers over two weeks. This 12 months marks the forty fourth 12 months of the race and its third 12 months in Saudi Arabia.
Over the past three days, the South Racing Can-Am crew has been modifying, tuning, tightening, and optimizing the Maverick X3 facet by facet automobiles that they’ll be racing within the T3 and T4 classes within the SSV (Aspect by Aspect Car) class. As we speak’s ultimate changes are following yesterday’s Shakedown occasion and earlier than at the moment’s scrutineering when Dakar officers examine the car to certify that it, and the rivals’ security gear, adjust to race requirements.
4 South Racing Can-Am Manufacturing facility drivers – Aron Domzala, Gerrard Farres, AJ Jones, and Molly Taylor – will take the beginning line this 12 months as a part of 21 automobiles being serviced and supported by South Racing and South Racing Center East on the race. This 12 months, 121 light-weight automobiles will compete within the T3 and T4 classes.
Coming off the excessive of securing the FIA Cross-Nation Rally World Cup title in November, American South Racing Can-Am Manufacturing facility driver AJ Jones is favored to take house the T4 title. This will probably be his third Dakar. He positioned 2nd within the class in 2021 and eighth as a personal entry in 2020.
“There are such a lot of individuals at Dakar, and something can occur. You will be down an hour someday, after which inside the 12 days, you’ll be able to nonetheless come again. It’s a whole lot of stress, however I like being the man to beat,” says Jones.
Alongside him, Brazilian co-driver Gustavo Gugelmin will probably be navigating this 12 months’s course.
If Jones succeeds in taking house victory, he’ll be the second American to take action within the SSV class and the third American to assert a first-place win at Dakar. (Casey Currie was the primary American to win within the T4 class in 2020.)
It isn’t simply Jones that’s getting all the eye. Contemporary off an Excessive E victory, Australian South Racing Can-Am Manufacturing facility driver Molly Taylor is one other favourite this 12 months.
“I wanted somebody who may go and provides all of the rivals within the race a headache, and Molly actually match that profile. I felt that she was very underrated by way of what she’s already achieved to this point. She gained Australian Rally championships earlier than it was cool for women to beat guys. That was a reality. I believe she has phenomenal expertise,” says Scott Abraham, South Racing Group Supervisor.
For the primary time in Dakar historical past, the introduction of two Saudi-born feminine drivers, Mashael Al-Obaidan and Dania Akeel, will probably be racing beneath South Racing Center East within the SSV T3 class. The 2 have been receiving a lot consideration, particularly within the native press.
As for the machines they’re driving? Inventory Can-Am Maverick X3 light-weight automobiles will be bought worldwide, together with right here in Saudi Arabia, the place they’ve gained immense reputation. These Dakar-ready X3s, nevertheless, have been modified particularly for the calls for of racing throughout such various terrain. From a 100% Chrome-Moly chassis and strengthened roll cage bars to customized suspension arms with Ohlins Dampers and strengthened ball joints, J. Juan racing brakes, Technique Race Wheels, Tensor tires, carbon-fiber panels and bodywork, a shatterproof windshield, and aluminum skid plates, these automobiles are lighter, however not sooner. The Dakar guidelines prohibit the 195HP Rotax Engine to 160HP, a regular for every car on this class.
Dakar 2022 begins on January 1st in Ha’il, Saudi Arabia, and will be adopted dwell from the Dakar mobile app.