A new season of the World Rally-Raid Championship kicks off this week with the Monster Energy Honda Team all set to tackle the Dakar Rally aboard the new Honda CRF450 RALLY.
A new season of the World Rally-Raid Championship kicks off this week with the Monster Energy Honda Team all set to tackle the Dakar Rally aboard the new Honda CRF450 RALLY. The current FIM Manufacturers’ World Championship holders will see a line up featuring world leading riders with victories on the Dakar and the very hardest of W2RC rallies under their belt.
With the only American to win the Dakar, 2020 winner Ricky Brabec, alongside Chilean rider Jose Ignacio Cornejo who is looking to get that elusive podium finish, American Skyler Howes, who was a new signing to the team in September, will also be on a mission for victory after his third place finish in 2023. Spaniard Tosha Schareina will also be one to watch after his victory on the Argentine Desafio Ruta 40 last year.
The 2020 and 2022 Dakar Rally runner-up Pablo Quintanilla will be looking to go one step higher on the podium to take the most prized trophy in motorsport back to Chile, while Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren will also be strong in the overall standings after his success over the past two seasons at Andalucia and Abu Dhabi.
Honda is no stranger to winning the world’s toughest rally, its first victory coming in 1982 at the hands of Frenchman Cyril Neveu who went onto win it again in 1986 and ’87, before Edi Orioli and Gilles Lalay took over the top step with the ever dominant NXR750 in the two years that followed when it was the original Paris-Dakar Rally in Africa.
Ricky Brabec added his name to the history books in 2020 and Kevin Benavides made it a second consecutive victory for Honda in 2021 as the Monster Energy Honda Team will now look to make a return to the victory circle with a strong rider line up.
The 2024 Dakar Rally is shaping up to be harder than the previous editions as the riders will not only endure 7,967 kilometres of riding across a prologue and 12 stages but it’ll also include the new ’48-hour chrono’ stage which will test the endurance of man and machine across the legendary Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia. There’ll be no communication with the outside world, no help from mechanics and entrants will have no idea where they are in relation to their fellow competitors when they bed down for the night at one of seven bivouacs dotted across stage six. Plus it’ll hit at just the midpoint of the event, so although a rest day follows, there’ll be a further six days of action to go.
The fifth Dakar in the spectacular Saudi Arabian desert will see 60% of all-new sections on the stages as the route starts at the historical AlUla before winding across to the far Eastern town of Shubaytah before returning to the finish at the coastal town of Yanbu by the Red Sea after 14 days of rallying. Expect plenty of stunning backdrops as the riders make their way through this epic adventure in a test of skill, speed and endurance.
In the words of the creator of the world’s most famous motorsport event, the late Thierry Sabine,“A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind” and this challenge will commence for the Monster Energy Honda riders on Friday 5th January 2024 when the 46th edition will kick off with a 28km Prologue.