I'm not a motorsport enthusiast. I don't follow F1 series, NASCAR, MotoGP or other sports that are considered mainstream for that matter. I didn't want to follow Dakar either, but this sudden curiosity to find out what makes C S Santhosh and Arvind K P with Hero MotorCorp and TVS racing respectively, representing India legends was what made me watch the 2017 season.
Courtesy - Dakar Galle
The more I sat through it the more I learned It was all about endurance, adventure, and healthy competition. Especially in the Malle Moto participants. To them, it meant the whole world just to finish the entire course. The emotions were real! Mammoth sized trucks, grunting cars, nimble x2, agile quads, and jumpy bikes made a recipe that was keeping me hooked to the event.
Dakar is probably the only Motor Sport that is a paradise for photographers and filmmakers. The locations that the rally cuts through are just serene! Of course, for the most part, it is just sand dunes, dunes that can devour rally trucks with the turbocharged 13-liter, six-cylinder Dongfeng Cummins engine, with a switchable intercooler, churning out an enormous 1,150hp, and drinks anything between 100 to 200 liters per 100km – 100 on piste, 200 on sand.
The rally cars like BMW/Mini, are most fun to watch with their rear-wheel drive which keeps competitors on their toes throughout the entire event! The Peugeot features a remote tire pressure system, allowing the team to inflate or deflate the tires on the go to cope with what’s happening underneath them, making them instantly floppier for sand, or firmer for stretches of rock, or even the odd stretch of road.
Fuel management becomes a headache as Dakar takes the participants as high as 5 km in altitude at times. To manage the heat, a Peugeot has six fans around the engine that control temperature against 40 Celsius in the day and minus 5 at night.
The ATV and Bikes segment faces the most gruesome challenges and usually have a separate route from the cars, a very few times do they overlap.
Have I mentioned Electric Rally Cars?
Courtesy - Acciona Energy Gallery
A 2100 kg, 150 kw battery powered car ran the entire course and finished both 2017 and 2018 rallies. The high performance batteries could charge to 100% in just 60 min, while limiting the speed to 150 kmph!
It's a visual treat to watch seasoned drivers and riders like - Toby Price (KTM), Mitthias Walkner(KTM), Oriol Mena(Hero), Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota), Sebastien Leob(PH-Sport) tear through mighty dunes!
And It's all happening again in 2020, but on the magical sand dunes of Saudi Arabia from the 2nd to 17th of January. The event will take participants through seven attractive locations - JEDDAH, HAIL, DIRIYAH, AL-HIJR SITE, AL HASSA OASIS, THE GREAT MOSQUE OF MECCA and THE PROPHET'S MOSQUE OF MEDINA. Take a look at the map -
Tell me in the comments whom you are rooting for this year!