Thursday, April 18, 2024

Dakar Team Spierings partners with RaceArt for 2024

Paul Spierings‘ sixth Dakar Rally will take place in tandem with Roger Grouwels‘ second. On Thursday, the former’s Dakar Team Spierings announced a new partnership with Grouwels’ Team RaceArt to field Can-Am Mavericks for their owners in the T4 category at the 2024 edition in January.

“Roger and I have different backgrounds in motorcycles and motorsport, but by sharing each other’s knowledge and experience we can both move forward,” said Spierings. “We complement each other perfectly and the collaboration with RaceArt is a great boost for the entire team.”

After three years on bikes, a stint that notably saw him save fellow rider CS Santosh after a near-fatal accident in 2021, Spierings made the switch to SSVs in 2022 and finished twenty-first in class overall. He improved to fourteenth in 2023 with a best daily finish of seventh in Stage #12; it was one of four top-ten stage finishes alongside an eighth in Stage #8 and a pair of ninths in Stages #10 and #13.

In contrast to the 36-year-old Spierings, Grouwels is nearly twice as old at 58 and made his Dakar début in 2023. Competing in the T3 class, his race ended after nine stages with his highest placement being twenty-second in Stage #6.

Grouwels hails from the world of pavement racing, primarily competing in the Ferrari Challenge and GT series. He won the Supercar Challenge’s Super GT championship in 2014 and 2015, along with the Ferrari Challenge Europe’s Coppa Shell Pro Am title in 2020; he also secured the world championship in the latter campaign. In 2022, he finished second in the Supercar Challenge GT standings with a weekend sweep at Zolder.

Formally known as Team RaceArt-Kroymans, Grouwels’ outfit fields Nissan GT-Rs and Bentley Continentals in the Supercar Challenge. His son Jules also races for the team.

He began dabbling in rally raid with amateur events like the Rallye Breslau and Morocco Desert Challenge. Ahead of the 2023 Dakar Rally, Grouwels competed in the 2022 Rallye du Maroc but failed to finish.

The new partnership, dubbed Dakar Team Spierings RaceArt, will first compete at the Rallye du Maroc in October to prepare for Dakar. They will also bring a third Can-Am as a support vehicle.

“Roger and I both want to start with the best material, and we have chosen Can-Am buggies because this is an already tested and developed concept,” continued Spierings. “It is no guarantee that we will stay out of trouble, but it does help a lot. We don’t want to leave anything to chance and that’s why we started preparations very early. We try to work out as many things as possible in detail and prepare properly, everything for the best possible result.

“After finishing the previous five editions and partly in view of the material we will start with, you cannot keep saying that you aiming for just finishing. The goal is clear: to finish in the top ten and preferably with both buggies.”

The 2024 Dakar Rally begins on 5 January.