Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Nicolas Cavigliasso moves up to T3 for Argentina, Dakar 2024

Nicolás Cavigliasso will move from production SSVs to Light Prototypes as he enters August’s Desafío Ruta 40 driving an MCE-5 in the T3 category for Wevers Sport. The effort will culminate in his fifth career Dakar Rally in 2024 and first in T3.

Cavigliasso spent Thursday and Friday testing an MCE-5 with Wevers in France, with his wife Valentina Pertegarini serving as co-driver. It was his second T3 test after participating in a young driver’s session in Dubai in March sponsored by Red Bull, who operates a T3 and T4 factory team alongside South Racing Can-Am but also has an MCE-5 division led by Mitch Guthrie. In April, Guthrie won his class at the Sonora Rally, the latest World Rally-Raid Championship before the Desafío Ruta 40.

Cyrille Constensou, who designed the MCE-5, was present for both tests. Constensou previously worked on the Volkswagen Touareg and Peugeot that challenged the Dakar Rally.

Before switching to SSVs, Cavigliasso was a star on quads as he won the class at the 2019 Dakar Rally, the final edition in his home continent of South America; he had finished second in his maiden Dakar the previous year. After skipping 2020 for personal reasons, during which he still won the Quad class in the South American Rally Race, the Argentine returned in 2021 and claimed two stage wins before retiring with a broken clutch. He spent 2022 preparing for the jump to SSV in 2023, finishing twenty-fifth overall in T4 after mechanical problems early on with a best stage performance of fifth in Stage #9.

Besides Guthrie and Cavigliasso, a third MCE-5 will be piloted by Gabriel Rodríguez in Argentina. Rodríguez will also make his T3 début after previously racing bikes.

“[The test] went very well for us and the car is tremendous, it gives us a lot of confidence,” Rodríguez told Campeones. “We will train hard for the race because we will have a very good car.”

The Desafío Ruta 40 will take place on 26 September to 8 September, while the 2024 Dakar Rally runs on 5–19 January.