In early 2021, the Porsche 959 and the Lada Niva could have at the very least one factor in frequent: They’ll each be eligible to take part within the Dakar Rally after an extended hiatus. Neither will realistically have the ability to beat the racers that might be constructed particularly for the 2021 occasion, so the organizers created a Classic category that is open to automobiles and vehicles.
Contrary to what its identify suggests, the Dakar Rally hasn’t been held in Africa because it was canceled in 2008 over terrorism-related fears. It was held in South America within the 2010s, and it moved to Saudi Arabia in 2020. That’s the place older racers might be given the chance to point out what they’re able to after a long time of hibernation. Although the organizers have not printed an inventory of eligible autos, they famous the Classic category is open to any automotive or truck that participated within the rally earlier than 2000. Motorcycles aren’t allowed to race — at the very least not but.
Vehicles entered within the Classic category will comply with roughly the identical route as these competing within the race, the beginning and end factors would be the identical, however the purpose will not be to drive flat-out for days on finish. The problem will include following the timing set for every stage as intently as doable. In this sense, the Dakar Classic will look lots just like the Historic Monte Carlo Rally held yearly at about the identical time as the traditional race.
Professional pilots have typically received the Dakar, however the occasion has lengthy been open to amateurs searching for the journey of a lifetime, they usually’ve enlisted a various collection of automobiles to take them throughout the Sahara. First, second and third place within the first Paris-Dakar held in 1978-1979 went to a Range Rover, a Renault 4, and a Fiat Campagnola, respectively. Dozens of intrepid racers have accomplished the occasion in a Mercedes-Benz G-Class, a Lada Niva, or a Toyota FJ/BJ. Oddballs embody a four-wheel-drive Renault 20 Turbo, which received in 1982, a Rolls-Royce Corniche dropped on a tubular body and powered by a Chevrolet-sourced small block V8, and, after all, the 959 that Porsche initially developed for the WRC’s canceled Group B category. Some of those automobiles are in producer museums, so we’re hoping they’re gently woken up and despatched to the desert.
Enthusiasts who wish to bounce over dunes in a classic automotive have till October 2020 to enroll for the Dakar Classic. The race begins in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on January three and ends 5,000 miles later in the identical metropolis on January 15. Additional particulars concerning the route basic automobiles will comply with might be printed within the coming months.
“It’s vital for us to honor the Dakar’s pioneer,” concluded David Castera, the occasion’s director.