A closer look into the early favorites of the 2022 Dakar Rally that will start in several days in Saudi Arabia.
The Dakar Rally is always full of surprises and you never know what to anticipate during this marathon. However, there are always those that come to the rally as the favorites with big expectations. In this article, we will talk about them.
Ricky Brabec won the Dakar Rally in 2020 and was among the favorites in 2021. In fact, he had a good performance. He had 3 stage victories. However, it was not enough to defend the title as he lost less than 5 minutes to the winner Kevin Benavides. The American comes back to Dakar with only one goal – to win.
Toby Price is an experienced rider and he has had a lot of success at Dakar. However, it was not the case in 2021. He had a big crash during stage 9, injured his left arm and shoulder, and had to retire from the event. The Australian definitely wants to make a recovery in 2022.
Sebastien Loeb is a rallying legend with 9 WRC titles. Since 2016, he has been a part of the Dakar Rally cars category. The Frenchman was close to winning the rally on several occasions. The 2021 edition of the rally brought a lot of challenges to Loeb. He had a lot of technical issues and in the end, retired. The Bahrain Raid Xtreme driver is determined to succeed in his sixth attempt in the brand-new Prodrive Hunter T1+ car after intense preparation.
Nasser Al-Attiyah was very close to his 4th Dakar Rally victory in 2021. Al-Attiyah and Stephane Peterhansel were neck-and-neck during all 12 stages, but the Qatari lost the battle, being less than 14 minutes away from the Frenchman at the finish line. Al-Attiyah is always considered a favorite and 2022 is not an exception.
Manuel Andujar had an impressive performance in 2021. He won was more than 33 minutes ahead of the runner-up Giovanni Enrico and took the quads category title. Last year’s success will undoubtedly make him one of the favorites in 2022.
Alexandre Giroud is another rider that is worth mentioning. He won most stages in the category – 4 out of 12. However, Giroud did not make it to the finish line. The Frenchman is surely capable of winning the rally in 2022 and he looks to prove it.
Seth Quintero will be the one to watch in the LWVs class after an impressive 4th place in the overall standings, while Austin Jones will try to convert his 2nd place in the SSVs to the victory.
Dmitry Sotnikov dominated the trucks class last time around. He won 5 stages and got the title without big issues, so he is set for another master-class performance in 2022. Martin Macik is the only non-Kamaz driver in the field that won a stage in 2021, so he can surely be a threat to the Kamaz hegemony.