Dakar 2020: Toyota Gazoo Announces 2020 Dakar Rally Team

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing today announced an all-star line-up for the Dakar Rally scheduled to take place for the first time in Saudi Arabia in January 2020. The works team features four crews consisting of Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel; Giniel de Villiers and navigator Alex Haro; Bernhard Ten Brinke and navigator Tom Colsoul; and Fernando Alonso and navigator Marc Coma.

The team has been competing at the Dakar Rally since 2012 and, as TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa, achieved Toyota’s first overall victory earlier this year with Nasser and Mathieu. Since its first Dakar Rally entry, the team recorded best overall results of 3rd (2012), 2nd (2013), 4th (2014), 2nd (2015), 3rd (2016), 5th (2017) and 2nd (2018).

For the upcoming edition of the legendary rally, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will field a mix of experienced rally-raid specialists, together with relative newcomers to the discipline. Nasser and Mathieu will be looking to defend their Dakar Rally title to add to their impressive list of achievements, including multiple FIA World Cups for Cross Country Rallies and Dakar Rally victories. Giniel is another experienced campaigner with the 2009 Dakar Rally victory to his name and four Rally of Morocco crowns, the latest coming earlier this month with his new navigator Alex. Bernhard, also a former winner in Morocco, is reunited with Tom, who hails from a rally dynasty and has been competing across different rally disciplines over the years with multiple successes in the truck category.

Fernando, two-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner, reigning FIA World Endurance Championship title holder with TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, two-time Formula 1 World Champion, and winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona, will drive TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s fourth entry in the 2020 Dakar Rally, part of his ambition to try different motorsport disciplines and become an even more complete racing driver. Sitting alongside him in the navigator seat is Marc, another Spanish motorsport legend with six FIM Cross Country World Championships and five Dakar Rally victories in the bike category under his belt. The Spanish super-duo, both transitioning into different forms of motorsport, have been hard at work since August, training in some of the harshest conditions and terrains throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. So far, Fernando and Marc have more than doubled their planned training mileage, an unmistakeable signal of the duo’s determination to conquer one of motorsport’s most rigorous events.

All four crews will compete in the latest version of the rally raid-proven Toyota Hilux, built and developed in South Africa. The 2018 Dakar Rally saw the introduction of an all-new Hilux which was described by Glyn Hall, Team Principal, as a technological leap forward and proved itself from the get-go with a second and third place on its Dakar Rally debut before winning the event outright a year later. Following TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s philosophy of “making ever-better cars”, the team has continued to refine the Hilux and the latest iteration will spearhead the team’s Dakar Rally campaign. The Hilux features independent suspensions, mid-ship engine and all-wheel drive, with the 5-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine sitting just behind the front wheels, between and slightly below the crew.

The 2020 Dakar Rally will be contested solely in Saudi Arabia, with the rally starting on January 5, 2020 in the western city of Jeddah. The route will head north, before turning south-east to the capital city of Riyadh where crews will enjoy the traditional event rest day. The second half of the 2020 Dakar Rally traverses through Rub’ al Khali, also known as the “Empty Quarter”, the world’s largest continuous sand desert, before finishing in the city of Al-Qiddiya on January 17.

Source Toyota Gazoo Racing SA official press release

Dakar 2020: Gerard de Rooy will not take part in Dakar 2020

In consultation with Iveco and Petronas, Gerard de Rooy has decided not to participate in the Dakar Rally. The reason is a hernia in his back, which De Rooy will have to undergo surgery for. “It’s not that serious, but I don’t want to take the risk of it getting worse,” says the double winner of the Dakar Rally.

De Rooy will travel to Saudi Arabia to assist his teammates from Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco.The back problems that Gerard de Rooy has been struggling with for some time are an indirect consequence of the earlier fractures in his back, which meant that he had to skip the Dakar in 2010 and dropped out early in 2011. “Because several vertebrae at the top of my back are fixed, it is more stressed at the bottom,” explains De Rooy. “That is why a hernia has developed. In daily life I have little trouble with it. It is well under control and I can do almost anything, but taking the blows in a rally is a problem. During our test in Morocco I noticed it became painful after a few days. Two consecutive weeks of heavy blows, several times a day, that’s just too much of a risk at the moment.”

Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco will thus start in Saudi Arabia on January 5 with four trucks: Janus jr van Kasteren, Vick Versteijnen and Albert Llovera with the Iveco Powerstar and Michiel Becx with the Iveco Trakker. The Powerstar with independent wheel suspension, with which Gerard de Rooy would ride, stays in Son. “The others have no experience with that truck and practically it is better to go with four technically identical vehicles.”

Source Team de Rooy

Dakar 2020: Bell & McMurran stick with SA-built Nissan

Dubai-based Sabertooth Motorsport Dakar crew, Thomas Bell and Patrick McMurran have once again chosen a Red-Lined Nissan Navara for their next three years of international rally raid racing. 

Bell and McMurran, who finished every race of their 2019 season around the world from the Dakar through Dubai to Morocco with their previous spec Navara, will now step up to the latest Nismo V8-powered VK56 version of the South African developed and built Red-Lined racing machine. Their decision follows an intensive testing program to choose their new ride.

“Looking ahead at the next three years, we recently tried out several different new off-road racing vehicles, but in the end we settled for our tried and trusted reliability, Thomas explained. “We enjoyed a splendid run with our previous Red-Lined Navara, but we were looking to step up to the next level and after putting a number of rival 4x4s and 2WD buggies to the test, the decision was easy to move up to the new Red-Lined VK56 Navara.

“Terence Marsh and his men have developed a special machine in the VK56 and the new Navara is not only powered by a stronger 5.6-litre Nismo V8, but the engine is now also mid-mounted in the front and that brings superb balance and agility, especially in the thick sand dunes where we will be doing most of our racing for the next few years. “

"We found the Red-Lined Navara easy to drive, comfortable, compliant and had that  key reliability for marathon events Now we look forward to taking delivery of our new race car and preparing for the ultimate test at Dakar 2020 in Saudi Arabia — we cannot wait!”

“We are beyond delighted to retain Thomas and Patrick within the Red-Lined family — especially knowing that the lads tested so many other vehicles before choosing our new Red-Lined Nissan Navara VK56 to take it to the next level.” Red-Lined Motoring Adventures CEO Terence Marsh concluded. “Now we look forward to continuing a most successful relationship, starting with the Dakar from 5-17 January."

Source Red Lined Motorsport

Dakar 2020: They have taken the « Pole Position » in Morocco…

From 5 to 9 October, the Rallye du Maroc featured the majority of the favourites for the up-coming edition of the Dakar for a world-class encounter over five stages, which is the final major test before the main event in Saudi Arabia in January.
The victories for Andrew Scott in the bike division, Giniel de Villiers in the cars, Ignacio Casale in his return to the quad category and Casey Currie in SSV give an insight to who is currently on form in the sport… but isn’t a confirmation of things to come either!
What happens in October doesn’t necessarily play out in January. Each will procure a special memory at the start of the 42nd edition of the Dakar in a little less than three months in Saudi Arabia. However, the seasoned-professionals like the amateurs in search of certainty before entering, for example, their first Dakar, certainly learned lessons and / or received encouragement from this week of racing in Morocco. Beginning in the car category with winner of the Dakar ten years ago Giniel de Villiers who was driven by consistency to another victory. Seconded by co-driver Alex Haro, the South African added a fourth Rallye du Maroc success to those won in 2003, 2006 and 2007 and also confirmed the level of performance of the Toyota Hilux, which won for the first time in 2019 on the Dakar with Nasser Al-Attiyah. The Qatari driver, who lined up as the odds-on favourite at the start in Fes and candidate for a 6th title, was stopped dead in his tracks with mechanical problems: even the most reliable metronome can suffer a set back! The same can be said about Stéphane Peterhansel, whose hope for victory was dashed when he flipped his car on the same day. But the Mini X-Raid driver, now teamed with his wife Andréa, soldiered on and righted a historic anomaly in winning the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies.

The Rallye du Maroc was also the first major challenge for the most watched rally-raid newcomer, Fernando Alonso. Teamed with five-time Dakar champion Marc Coma as his co-driver, the twice Formula 1 World Champion experienced the gambit of classic rally-raid misfortunes, breaking a front axle that cost him 70 hours of penalties for not making it to the finish of stage three. When the dust settled, he arrived in Fes in 26th place in the general classification… To be continued…

The verdict in the motorbike race also opens unexpected perspectives, especially for the rivals of KTM, which has won the last 18 editions of the Dakar. Admittedly, those with a keen eye took notice last January of up and coming Andrew Short who rode into Lima in 6th place overall. But the American rider this time added some nerves of steel to his consistency when he had to defend his tenuous 28-second lead from his Husqvarna team mate Pablo Quintanilla, on the morning of the final stage. In a nearly identical situation, the Chilean rider was spared having to relive the nightmare of his final day in Peru (crash, injury and a 4th place finish while in contention for the win behind Price) and held on to the runner-up spot, while Joan Barreda completed the two-wheel podium. However, the KTMs are still a threat: Toby Price finished just seven seconds off the podium!

Source Dakar official press release / Photos DPPI / Rallye du Maroc


Rallye du Maroc 2019: Joan Barreda finishes on the podium of a tough Rallye du Maroc

The Rallye du Maroc concluded today in Fez with a notable result for the Monster Energy Honda Team, with Joan Barreda grabbing a spot on the overall podium after finishing runner-up in the final stage and Kevin Benavides, third place in the World Championship.

After a final 168.47-kilometre timed stage with plenty of complications en route, the final Rallye du Maroc podium featured the presence of one of the Monster Energy Honda Team squad: Joan Barreda. This edition of the Rallye du Maroc included some of the sport’s highest-level elite riders, with every day decided by the narrowest of margins. Today, the top positions in the general standings received one final shake-up. This proved to be the case for Joan Barreda, with the Spaniard capitalizing on his possibilities, riding a fine special to post a finish just three seconds short of the stage winner and concluding the rally on the third step of the rostrum, with a seven-second advantage over the fourth place finisher.

American rider Ricky Brabec set off this morning with his sights likewise set on a podium place. However, his starting position for the final special was far less favourable in his bid for third overall place. In spite of this, Ricky clocked up some fine partial times, although not enough to hold on to his third overall position. A ninth place on the stage means the American claims fifth final place in the general rankings of the rally.

Kevin Benavides was happy to have made it through to the end of the rally after a fall in the third stage had turned the race into an uphill struggle. The rider battled on despite a right leg injury which had taken a blow in the very same point as a previous injury picked up in Morocco. Ruling out a retirement, the Argentine Monster Energy Honda Team rider managed to make it to the end to wrap up the Rallye du Maroc with a top ten overall finish, which gives him to finish third in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

José Ignacio Cornejo also made it safely back to Fez trouble-free as the eleventh place overall rider, as did Aaron Mare, the rider assisted by Monster Energy Honda Team, who delivered a consistent performance in the rally without major issues.

The Rallye du Maroc is the final competition featuring the Monster Energy Honda Team this season. The next event will be the Salón Internacional de la Moto de Milán, EICMA, in Milan, Italy, this coming November, where the official factory team to take part in the great challenge – the 2020 Rally Dakar – will get their official presentation.

Ricky Brabec - STAGE: 9TH  FINAL STANDINGS: 5TH - "The day was quite complicated for me as I had to open track for the final 100 kilometres on very fast tracks. I was hoping to finish stronger, but throughout the rally the differences between the riders was very little and every day we were changing positions. Anyway, I am happy to have finished the whole race and to have prepared for the Dakar, where I will arrive with more confidence."

Kevin Benavides - STAGE: 7TH  FINAL STANDINGS: 10TH - "Today I finished seventh on the day and my leg was feeling much better. I’m tenth in the general standings, but third in the world championship, which is better. Taking stock of everything, it has been a very complicated year. In Abu Dhabi I arrived just after an injury and in Abu Dhabi a brake problem affected my race and it didn't go too well here either. It has been a year to learn a lot without giving up and I will keep looking ahead as soon we have the Dakar 2020."

José Ignacio Cornejo - STAGE: 15TH  FINAL STANDINGS: 11TH - "Today was an entertaining stage, quite technical and with some navigation. I made a mistake that made me drop several minutes. I had better sensations on the hard, stony tracks. It has been a good race where I have been able to improve my skills. I think the speed has been good too, something that we have worked on all year long. It has been tough, with so many races, but I’m glad to finish in one piece and I am looking forward to the next one: the Dakar."

Joan Barreda - STAGE: 2ND  FINAL STANDINGS: 3RD - "Fighting for the podium was something possible, so today I went out to try for it and things went well. It has been a difficult race, very full, with many different types of terrain, some complicated navigation. It has not been bad as preparation for the Dakar, which is the big objective that we have and which we have been preparing for all season. The team has worked hard this season and now there is only the final stretch of preparation before the 2020 Dakar."



Source  Monster Energy Honda Team's official press release

KAMAZ-master announced drivers line-up for 2020 Dakar Rally

On September 27, at a press conference in Naberezhnye Chelny, the head of KAMAZ-master Team Vladimir Chagin announced the names of the drivers, taking part in Dakar Rally 2020. The meeting was held at KAMAZ-master sports center as part of a traditional press tour, organized by the team for the Russian media.
Drivers of the team Eduard Nikolaev and Dmitry Sotnikov arranged test runs for the media representatives in the training area. After the tests, the team’s guests moved to KAMAZ-master sports center, where the main news of the press conference was composition of the drivers for the upcoming race, also there was a conversation about how the year of the team passed and what technical novelties were used in the race trucks.

Currently, the team’s preparation process for the Dakar Rally 2020 has entered its final stage. On December 5, 6, in Marseille, France, first scruteneering and ferry loading will be held to send vehicles of the race contestants to the Arabian Peninsula.
It is worth reminding that, starting from 2020, the Dakar Rally is changing its location. After 10 years spent on the routes of South America, the race organizers signed a 5-year contract with Saudi Arabia.

The 42nd Dakar starts on January 5 from the Red Sea coast in Jeddah. On January 11, contestants will spend a rest day in the Kingdom’s capital of Riyadh, and finally, the finish of the race is scheduled for January 17 in the place of Al Qiddiya.
A wide range of landscapes, including canyons, dunes, mountains, wadi (the Arabic name for dry riverbeds), and what is more, people and culture of the Middle East will undoubtedly bring a completely new color to the race. In the program there is a vast mountain region of Hijaaz on the border with Jordan with its highest point, Jabal al-Lawz Mountain (the Mountain of Almonds, 2500 meters). Here, in the labyrinth of mountain valleys, co-drivers will have to solve difficult navigation tasks. It is expected that the most interesting and intense in terms of sports events will take place in the Nefud and The Rub' al Khali deserts (lit. the Empty Quarter), where sandy landscapes extend as far as the eye can see, and the height of the dunes reaches 250 meters.

For the race, KAMAZ-master team will apply 4 sports trucks KAMAZ-43509 that have already proven themselves this year in the Dakar Rally in Peru and in the Silk Way Rally: Russia-Mongolia-China. In the new truck, which saw the light in 2018 due to changes in the Dakar regulations, restricting the maximum engine capacity in the truck classification with 13 liters, an in-line six-cylinder engine was used. The team actually had to redesign a new truck, which became the carrier of the latest developments and modern sports technologies. For a year after its birth this model underwent more than one modernization.

Preparation of the race trucks for the Dakar 2020 was mainly aimed at improving performance of various systems, increasing reliability of units and parts, and reducing weight of some components. All changes were tested at the stages of the Russian Championship, the Rally Kazakhstan and the Silk Way Rally 2019.

Work on optimization of engine operating processes, as well as manifolds and elements of intake and exhaust systems was carried out. Good results were achieved in reducing the inlet manifold resistance, gas dynamics of the exhaust system were improved, due to which temperature of exhaust gases was reduced.

In recent years, following environmental protection tendency, race commissars impose very high smoke requirements. And although today the soot content in exhaust gases is not recorded instrumentally, only by visual inspection, it is quite enough to make a comparison of the race contestants and apply penalties to someone up to withdrawal from the race. Over the last season it was possible to improve the engine's operating processes, allowing to reduce smoke of exhaust gases without deteriorating dynamic properties.

Due to increased steering demands of the drivers of the race trucks, settings to reduce efforts on the steering wheel have been implemented. These events are still at the stage of the resource development, but have already shown themselves positively. Tests have confirmed a reduction in the time of overcoming winding routes, as well as an increase in driving accuracy in sandy, dune terrain.

In order to reduce the truck’s tendency to roll over, to make it more responsive to changes in the driving direction and to increase the average speed when driving through winding tracks, was carried out a significant rearrangement of the internal equipment of the body. The gravity center of the truck was reduced by moving units of the intake and fuel systems, and the fuel tank was shifted closer to the rotation center of the truck.

Truck refinement and system adjustments were made during the Russian Rally-Raid Championship stage held in Rostov at the end of September. October tests in Kazakhstan are ahead. After them, the team management will finally compose the crews. In the meantime, drivers have been approved for participation in the Dakar 2020. The current Dakar champion Eduard Nikolaev, the winner of the Silk Way Rally 2019 Anton Shibalov, as well as Andrey Karginov and Dmitry Sotnikov will represent Russia in the truck classification of the international competition.

Vladimir Chagin, team leader: “When determining compositions for participation in the Dakar, we assess the pilots' work as a result of their performance, their readiness, there also should be rotation, similar run, driving experience over the period of time should be the same. We have 5 crews of equal strength. Even at training, we organize mini-competitions that allow our crews to compete among themselves. Thus, we raise the pace of each of them. ”

Eduard Nikolaev, driver: “Dakar is moving to a new continent, we are all waiting for what lies ahead. Very unpredictable. The terrain is similar to African – not quite high dunes like in Peru, but a lot of rocky terrain like in Morocco. Most likely the race will be "wheeled", you will need to stock up on tires. When there are sharp stones on the road, it is a specific speed, a specific pace. We don’t know what awaits us, but we will prepare for the hardest, most interesting route.”

Andrey Karginov, driver: “At the beginning of our career of drivers, we managed to participate in the race on the Arabian Peninsula, I dare say - the most difficult one. I often recall these high and difficult dunes, which were from the moment of start to the moment of finish. We participated in three crews, our task was simply to overcome these dunes, not to try to win. It was a huge victory for us to get to the finish line every day. It was really hard, we drove one after another, helped, got stuck, pulled out, continued moving on. But we have gained a huge experience, we will be happy to visit this region again.”

Dmitry Sotnikov, driver: “This Dakar season we are switching to an automatic gearbox, if last year two trucks were equipped with an automatic transmission, then this year all trucks are already equipped with it. We see serious advantages, moreover automatic gearboxes are gaining popularity among all contestants of the race. We also try to always develop, improve this topic and seek new modes.”

Source Kamaz Master

Dakar 2020: Sainz and Peterhansel in the X-raid MINI JCW Buggy

Extension of existing co-operations and closing of a new partnership
Further development of the X-raid MINI JCW Buggy

In January 2020, the Dakar Rally embarks on a new chapter: After ten events in South America, the iconic desert rally will take place in Saudi Arabia for the first time. As it takes on this new challenge, X-raid is counting on the experience held by Carlos Sainz (ESP) and Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA), each of whom will be at the wheel of a further-developed X-raid MINI John Cooper Works Buggy.

Experience gained during 15 Dakar wins
Sainz has won the Dakar twice in the past – most recently in 2018. “El Matador” is one of the biggest personalities in rallying, and once again has got the ambitions of taking victory in 2020. Before switching to off-road racing, he won the World Rally Championship on two occasions (1990, 1992). The man from Madrid can rely on the support of his long-term co-driver Lucas Cruz (ESP).

For Stéphane Peterhansel, the coming Dakar will be a very special one: "His wife Andrea will navigate for him at this event for the first time. The husband and wife duo won this year’s Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge together and finished runner-up in Kazakhstan. As such, “the Peterhansels” still have a chance of taking overall victory in the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. They are currently second in the table, nine points off the lead."
Stéphane Peterhansel claimed the first Dakar victory for X-raid in 2012, at the wheel of a MINI ALL4 Racing. One year later, he repeated that success. In total, “Mr. Dakar” has won the iconic desert rally 13 times. Six of those victories have come on motorcycles, the remaining seven on four wheels.
The route of the 2020 Dakar takes the competitors through almost the whole of Saudi Arabia. The rally starts on the 5th of January in the port of Jeddah. From there, the route runs through the north of the country to the capital Riyadh, where the teams will have a rest day. The second part of the rally sees the Dakar caravan head to the south – to the so-called Empty Quarter. The finish and podium ceremony will be at Al Qiddia, a city 40 kilometres from Riyadh, on the 17th of January.
Cooperation with old and new partners
As well as the collaboration with Red Bull, X-raid can also count on the support of other partners. The decision to move the Dakar from South America to the Arabian Peninsula has been well received, particularly in the region itself. This has allowed X-raid to welcome a new partner on board: The Kingdom of Bahrain closed a cooperation deal with the team, and will be represented on both cars and the race overalls of the German team. Bahrain is no stranger to the motorsports industry, being the first country in the GCC to host a Formula 1 race. The Kingdom continues to support innovative companies like X-raid as it embraces digitalization and disruption. 
The South American petrol station chain Primax has also extended its sponsorship of X-raid, despite the Dakar moving away from the South American continent. Carlos Gonzales Camargo (CEO of Primax S.A.) proudly announced that “Primax will continue the partnership with X-raid. Even if the Dakar is moving to the Arabic Peninsula, we decided to support the Team and extending the activation around the drivers Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz.”
Modifications to the MINI JCW Buggy
In preparation for the battle for a fifth Dakar victory for X-raid, the team has made further improvements and developments to the MINI JCW Buggy. One modification that spectators will be able to recognize at first glance is the shorter front of the car, which was developed by X-raid. This should make the buggy easier to drive and faster, particularly in the dunes.
Sven Quandt: “In Carlos and Stéphane, we have two drivers who not only have a lot of experience, but are also very familiar with the MINI. As such, we should be well equipped to take on the challenges that await us in January. The same goes for the MINI John Cooper Works Buggy, which we have continuously developed and tested over the course of the season. We are pleased to be able to welcome a new partner from the region, the Kingdom of Bahrain. The fact that Primax will continue to work with us is a clear sign of how much positive awareness X-raid and the Dakar have generated at previous editions of the rally.”


Source X-Raid

Dakar 2020: Riwald revealled a new Dakar truck with Hybrid technology

Unique collaboration

The Riwald Dakar Team, together with the Czech partner MKR Technology, worked hard for months on the development of a completely new and unique concept; a hybrid off-road truck. The project is supported by the partners - ZF Friedrichshafen - Renault Trucks - Hendrickson - AxleTech - Eurol. The Renault C460 Hybrid Edition was unveiled on Friday 27 September.

This is the time for the right choice
At the time that the environment had become a major global issue, the focus in the truck was on hybrid technology. The Renault Trucks C460 Hybrid Edition is a lightweight truck which, including the 700-kilo hybrid technology, has reached the ideal weight of 8.5 tonnes.

Gert Huzink from the Riwald Dakar Team has extensively tested the Renault Trucks C460 Hybrid Edition recently. The hybrid drive system, equipped with Eurol Specialty lubricants, has been exposed to extreme conditions and tested with promising results.
The Riwald Dakar Team and MKR have entered into a three-year partnership with the aim of achieving a top three ranking in the rally world within that period. It is the conviction of the Riwald Dakar Team and its partners that the electrical technology in the truck can bring about a transition with this.

Hybrid truck in Dakar rally
This circular vision is supported by the A.S.O., the organization of the toughest rally in the world; the Dakar Rally, followed with enthusiasm. They would like to see the Riwald Dakar Team with Gert Huzink behind the wheel of the new Renault Trucks C460 Hybrid Edition at the start of the Dakar 2020

Sustainable, innovative and socially responsible
The jubilating Riwald Recycling invests in the future and they are one of the most innovative recycling companies in Europe. More sustainable, cleaner and professional, they recycle all possible metals with the aim of; 100% reuse of recycling materials released in this modern economy.

As the main sponsor of the Riwald Dakar Team, the Dutch company is at the cradle of this spectacular and structural change in rally sport. An unleashed reinforcement towards a better environment and an even better world, a philosophy that Riwald Recycling itself has a high priority for.

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Source Riwald Dakar Team

Automatic translation from original press

Dakar 2020: Another Dakar, Another Desert

But Hennie offers fans a push-up challenge

Having conquered the Atacama Desert en route to his historic 2018 Dakar rookie victory and then racing through the Sahara earlier this year during his fine performance in the Moroccan performance, Pretoria race driver Hennie de Klerk now has the Arabian Desert squarely in his cross hairs and he, navigator Johann Smalberger and the TreasuryOne Amarok team prepare for an all new adventure in the Saudi Dakar 2020 in January.

“TreasuryOne Motorsport is delighted to announce that we are on our way to Dakar 2020 in Saudi Arabia,” Hennie confirmed on Monday. “We conquered the Atacama on our Dakar debut last year and then had an incredible run in the Sahara in Morocco earlier this year. Now we are off to a fresh Dakar challenge in the Arabian Desert!"

“We have a full program in place leading up to the Dakar from 5-17 January 2020, starting with a run in the Kalahari Rally early October, but we will be involving our fans in the build-up and we are asking everyone to join me in my Hennie Push Up Challenge. We are offering fifteen lucky fans the chance to come for a spin with me in the hot seat of our TreasuryOne Amarok in our last local testing on 24 September, before we tackle the Kalahari Rally.

How it works is simple — I will be doing 6000 push-ups during September to bring my Dakar training regime into better perspective — one push-up for each kilometre we will race during Dakar 2020 and I invite you to join me, make a video of you doing your own your push-ups and to post your video to our Facebook page via the link below. No need for you to do 6000 push-ups, but the best fifteen videos posted on or before Thursday 19 September will win a lap in the car with me! “So come on — get pressing up — we look forward to making that a really special experience for our winners!”

De Klerk and Smalberger and the team already completed a successful test in the Amarok in the Namibian dunes in August. “We had a good test in Namibia and ran 250km in the dunes, where besides a few small issues, the TreasuryOne Amarok ran like a train. “Next step is our last test and prize ride and then the Kalahari Rally — we are really looking forward to that — it’s a great rally with some serious navigation and will make for good training for the Dakar. "

“After that it’s flat out on our Dakar preparation to be ready well in time to ship the TreasuryOne Amarok and all our kit to Saudi Arabia late in November so it’s there well in time for the 5 January start of the Dakar 2020. For now we look forward to your press-up videos — post them at, subscribe to and keep up with our news on our media home page at” 

Source TreasuryOne Motorsport

Dakar 2020: Saudi Arabia attacked by Houthi rebel drones


The geopolitical situation in the Middle East was never calm and one should find it strange if it becomes calm from one day to the other, but there have always been some stable countries where the politic and economic situation was good or because the governments exerted all their power to contain internal or external menaces.

Saudi Arabia is one of the most stable countries in the region, but it is still contested by others due to some of the Kingdom's official positions or actions that aren't exactly easy to explain. Despite the complicated situation, in the more recent times the Saudis have made a real effort to become more open to the world and adopt more moderate views on many issues.  Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia is involved in an ongoing war with the Houthi rebels in Yemen with no end in sight.

In the past hours, the Houthi rebels attacked Saudi oil facilities causing an alt to the production and with the potential to disrupt global oil supplies and an increase in oil prices.  The situation in Saudi Arabia had become more complex, with the recent attack showing that Saudi's enemies are becoming stronger and ready to cause damage where it hurts the most.  According to the state-run oil producer Saudi Aramco, the attacks on the Abqaiq facility will cut the kingdom’s production by about 5.7m barrels per day, more than half of Saudi Arabia’s output, the world’s largest supplier of crude oil. 

The next Dakar Rally should take place in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of next year, exploring the amazing Saudi Desert, uncharted territory for many and full of challenges and amazing landscapes.  The departure from South America left the uncertainty and the unexpected last-minute decisions of the local governments behind, but also the relative security of a much more politic calm region.  In the Arabian Peninsula, the organizers found a government that fully supports the race and is ready to spend millions to make sure   the 2020 edition and next ones are amazing successes, but with the military and political conflicts increasing in intensity, the next Dakar Rally could also face some challenges that were forgotten since when it left Africa and crossed the Atlantic ocean. 

For the moment, organizers and teams keep the preparations going according their plans but it is no secret that many are looking to the Middle East region and expecting that the situation can cool down to make sure that the race can be run under normal conditions.


The Rally-Raid Network

Dakar 2020: Versteijnen and Llovera with Team De Rooy in Dakar 2020

Dutchman Vick Versteijnen and the Andorran Albert Llovera are part of Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco for the Dakar Rally 2020. Both come to the start with the Iveco Powerstar. Earlier it was announced that Janus van Kasteren and Michiel Becx will also start in Saudi Arabia as members of Team De Rooy.

Both Versteijnen and Llovera have extensive experience with trucks in the Dakar Rally. The 34-year-old Versteijnen made his debut in the Dakar in 2015 and amazed everyone by making it to the finish despite huge setbacks with the DAF. He also reached the finish line in 2016. In 2017, with a Scania, he dropped out on the last day due to a broken engine. In 2018 and 2019 the resident of Hilvarenbeek chose to take part in the Morocco Desert Challenge. His most recent rally experience was the Hungarian Baja last summer with an SSV.

52-year-old Llovera participated in the Olympic Games as a skier in 1984. In 1985 he became paralyzed from the waist down. That did not prevent him from participating in 29 WRC rallies and debuting in 2007 in the Dakar with an Isuzu. In 2014 and 2015 he was at the start with MD Rallye Sport, in 2016 and 2017 he finished with a Bonver Tatra.

“We are very happy with the addition of Vick Versteijnen and Albert Llovera to the team,” says team manager Henk van Leuven. “Versteijnen is starting with a Powerstar Evo2, which was initially reserved for Federico Villagra. Due to the crisis in Argentina, he is unfortunately unable to participate. Ton van Genugten and Maurik van den Heuvel have also indicated that they will not be part of Team De Rooy next year. With Janus van Kasteren and Vick Versteijnen however, we have two young drivers in the team who are given a free hand to go for top classifications and are also coached by Gerard de Rooy. The fast assistance is provided by Albert Llovera, for whom a Powerstar Evo3 is currently being fully adapted in Rome. Michiel Becx is going to drive an Iveco Trakker, with which he takes extra parts to support the Powerstars. Whether Gerard de Rooy himself will take the start of Dakar 2020 with the Iveco Powerstar Evo4 (with independent wheel suspension) depends on the results of a thorough test in Morocco in October.”

In Morocco, the Iveco Powerstar will be introduced to Vick Versteijnen for the first time. “I am really looking forward to that test. Driving a torpedo is not new to me, but an automatic gearbox is new and that will be quite exciting,” says Versteijnen, who will bring navigator Teun van Dal and mechanic André van der Sande with him. “It certainly is a dream come true to go to the Dakar with Team De Rooy. The opportunity came unexpectedly through Janus van Kasteren, who is a good friend of mine. When such a chance comes by, it is impossible to not take it with both hands.”

Source Dakar DeRooy

Dakar 2020: Borgward Rally team makes a statement for their third Dakar: The team will have Nani Roma as lead driver

"I'm very excited with this new project", said the Spaniard Nani Roma, Dakar-winner in cars and motorcycles.

Borgward Rally Team will have a top driver for its third chapter of the Dakar story, which will take place from January 5th to the 17th in Saudi Arabia. Spaniard Nani Roma, two-time winner in 2004 (motorcycles) and 2014 (cars), will be leading the team in the most challenging race in the world.

Roma's experience and achievements will allow Borgward Rally Team, aided by Wevers Sports, to take another step in its commitment to succeed in the toughest race of the world.

"I'm extremely excited about this new project and also about working with Borgward and Wevers Sport. Borgward is a motivated team that really wants to go big in this 2020 Dakar," declared the two-time Dakar winner.

Nani Roma will drive the Borgward BX7 DKR EVO, an updated version of the car that was utilized in the two previous Dakar. This car managed to finish in the 2nd place in a super special and also to finish Top 10 by Rest Day in Borgward's first Dakar journey in 2018, driven by Peruvian Nicolas Fuchs. Two of the main enhancements this car has are the new engine and its new suspension that is adapted to the new technical regulations.

"The Borgward is a car that works just fine and that I know quite a bit because I followed its evolution in the past two years. It's a resistant vehicle and thanks to today's technology I think we have great chances of getting a good result. Obviously, we have to step at the time, understand our new team and how the team works," added Nani Roma.

The Spaniard changed cars and also co-driver, "I'm racing with Dani Oliveras, a former motorcyclist with vast experience in different rallies. He's raced at the Dakar in cars, and has been in many races at the raid-rally world cup, the 2019 Abu Dhabi among other races at the Bajas World Cup.
Borgward Rally Team will also have another BX7 DKR EVO at the 2020 Dakar Rally that will be announced in the next weeks.

On the other hand, Nani Roma reminisced about his stage running for X-raid Team, which aided him get the 2nd place in cars at the 2019 Dakar Rally. The Spanish driver spent the last two years with the German team.

"I want to thank the Quandt family and the X-raid MINI team for these last two years that have been very good." Roma also has words to thank his former pilot Álex Haro. "I am very grateful, there have been many intense and beautiful moments that we have lived together. I wish him good luck in his new adventure," added Nani Roma.

Nani Roma will have trials as preparation in Morocco and Portugal for the 2020 Dakar Rally. He will also be at the 2019 Morocco Rally from October 3rd to the 9th and Baja Portalegre 500 in Portugal from October 24th to the 26th.

The 2020 Dakar Rally start will be on January 5th in Jeddah, main economic city in Saudi Arabia. There will be a rest day in the capital Riyadhbefore finishing at a new site that is being built in Al-Qiddiya on January 17th.


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Source Borgward Rally  -- Photo Rally-Raid Network

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