Red Bull KTM’s trio of Toby Price, Matthias Walkner and Britain’s Sam Sunderland have successfully completed their shakedown tests ahead of this year’s Dakar Rally.
Held in the Middle East for the second consecutive year, and celebrating its 43rd edition, this year’s Dakar Rally looks set to challenge all competitors from day one.
Following the short 11km Prologue today, riders will face 12 demanding stages, totalling 7,646km, taking them through some of the toughest terrain Saudi Arabia has to offer.
Delivering a completely new route for 2021, the event organizers have been working hard to create a race that further tests all competitors’ navigational skills.
Average speeds across the 4,767km of timed specials will also be reduced, with the stages expected to comprise of slower, more technically demanding terrain.
In the interest of safety, new regulations have also been brought in for this year’s race, including restrictions on tires, an audible warning system that will notify riders of dangers ahead while racing, as well as airbag jackets also becoming compulsory.
“Things are going well here in Jeddah, it has been a tough journey for the whole team to get here with the various restrictions and tests in place, but we’re 100 per cent ready for the race now,” said team boss Jordi Viladoms.
“The shakedown was extremely positive, and although the terrain wasn’t quite what we expect to face in the rally itself, all riders were immediately up to speed and felt comfortable on their bikes. We now just have to complete the final administrative and technical checks and then we can finally go racing.”
Following today’s short Prologue, the 2021 Dakar Rally starts with the 623km stage one tomorrow from Jeddah.