2022 DAKAR RALLY

Two weeks of racing, a lifetime of fame

2022 DAKAR RALLY

In off-road, the racing year starts January 1st with the kickoff of the Dakar Rally. This world-class event has been running over 50 years and tests man and machine against the elements during a grueling two-week stage rally. In 2022 for the third consecutive year, the event took place in Saudi Arabia, which has a perfect landscape for off-road. 

2022 DAKAR RALLY
Can-Am Factory racer Austin Jones and navigator Gustavo Gugelmin (Brazil) finished with the best overall time in the T4 category, which are production-based side-by-side off-road vehicles. Now let’s see them compete on American soil. Photo: BRP

 

While competitors show up from around the world to tackle the various bike, truck, quad and UTV classes, it’s the Americans we have been rooting for every time they race. In 2020 California racers Ricky Brabec (Honda MC) and Casey Curry in his Can-Am X3 became the first Americans to win their classes at the event. In 2021, Wayne and Kristen Matlock attempted the challenge in Polaris RZRs, and Seth Quintero and Mitch Guthrie ran in the Prototype class, driving a couple of custom vehicles fielded by Red Bull. Last year, 2021, was not as good as the year before, and the Americans weren’t able to bring the trophy back to American soil.

2022 DAKAR RALLY
Seth Quintero and Dennis Zenz celebrate their stage win record, breaking it after Stage 11 of the 2022 Dakar Rally. The American UTV racer is now known worldwide. Photo: Julien Delfosse

 

For 2022 it was Austin Jones, son of trophy truck racer Jesse Jones, carrying the stars and stripes on his Can-Am Maverick X3 in the UTV (SSV) class against the world-class field. Bad luck once again hit Guthrie and Quintero in the Red Bull Prototype OT3 cars. First, Guthrie tested positive for COVID on the eve of the race and had to withdraw. He wasn’t sick, just positive, and could not race. Guthrie quickly came back to the U.S. and competed in the Best In The Desert Parker 250 a week later in the new Polaris RZR Pro R.

 

2022 DAKAR RALLY
Photo: A.S.O. E.Vargiolu

 

2022 DAKAR RALLY
This is not the race to have a 4WD failure, as Herrador Calatrava Javier and Rosa Olivera Jose Luis of the Herrador factory team found out. Photo: Florent Gooden

 

 

The 2022 Dakar Rally covered approximately 5200 miles (8400 kilometers) through some of Saudi Arabia’s most challenging and technical terrain. Drivers faced cliffs, canyons, dunes and rocky trails, putting their skills and vehicles up to the ultimate challenge. Photo: A.S.O. Horacio
A scene during the rest day of the 2022 Dakar Rally on January 8, 2022 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was not a day for the mechanics to rest. Photo: Florent Gooden
If it’s not for the catering alone, Red Bull is the team to be on for the Dakar Rally. Overall winner Nasser Al-Attiyah in the car class, and lightweight prototype winner Seth Quintero are both Red Bull drivers. In 2022, they must have had wings. Photo: Florent Gooden
Marti Merce and Llobera Margot work on their Can-Am, luckily with other competitors (and tools) in sight. Photo: Horacio Cabilla

Seth Quintero’s hopes of winning the complete rally was crushed when the Volkswagen drivetrain in his Red Bull car left him stranded in the desert on Stage 2. Since he couldn’t get the car repaired on his own and had to be towed in, Quintero was no longer in contention for the overall. On the good side, Seth went out and won every stage from 3 until the end, setting a new stage win record of 11 for one rally. Although the overall win eluded the 20-year-old, this year’s Dakar will set the young driver up for a long future in the sport if he wants it. Check out the sights of the 2022 Dakar Rally.

See the Polaris factory team’s RZR Pro XP here: POLARIS FACTORY RACING RZR PRO XP – UTV Action Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For balance, the team of Franco Mario and Franco Rio ran two spare BFGs on KMC wheels mounted on the side of their Yamaha YZX1000R. Note the unique top front shock mount. Photo: Duda Bairros
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