Saturday, March 2, 2024

ASO, FIM tweak 2024 Dakar Rally quad entry requirements

As cool as ATVs are, they just do not draw the same interest as their two-wheeled counterpart. This was evidenced during the latest World Rally-Raid Championship round in Sonora when even the lowest-level Rally3 bikes had more riders than the two who duked it out in Quad.

In response, the FIM and Amaury Sport Organisation have seemingly shifted to a playbook of quality over quantity for the 2024 Dakar Rally. If one wants to be accepted in the class, they must have either run a Dakar Rally in the past five years or registered to take part in the 2023 or 2024 W2RC. By contrast, bike riders can build their 2024 résumés to submit for ASO/FIM approval using races from 2022.

Even if a quad racer has not run a W2RC round prior to the ASO beginning the Dakar rider selection process on 20 July, they can still become eligible by entering either of the final two races. The Desafío Ruta 40 begins on 27 August and runs through 1 September while the Rallye du Maroc wraps up the season on 13–18 October.

Although the class has seen different victors across the first three rounds, Laisvydas Kancius is the only rider to have run every race; he is also the lone race winner to have declared for W2RC points as Alexandre Giroud (Dakar Rally) and Abdulaziz Ahli (Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge) are one-off entries. Kancius leads the points with 69 while Pablo Copetti sits second with 38, having only run the Dakar Rally but intends to return for Argentina. Rodolfo Guillioli is the only other W2RC quad competitor with multiple starts in 2023 after racing in Abu Dhabi and Sonora.

“Unfortunately, it has to be acknowledged what the organisers also notice: compared to motorcycles, the interest of quad manufacturers in this class is not as high,” Kancius commented. “For the upcoming Dakar 2024, only quad class riders who have started at least once in the last five years or have registered to participate in the 2023 or 2024 World Championships. Those who are planning to compete in Dakar in 2024 can still meet the requirement by participating in this year’s World Cup and competing in Argentina or Morocco.

“On the one hand, the number of racers will probably decrease, but this does not mean less competition because due to the new requirements, only experienced and fast participants will compete.”

The 2024 Dakar Rally kicks off on 5 January.

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