The Dakar Rally is not a race where you can be complacent. Despite 17 consecutive wins for the KTM Factory Racing Team, each member of staff involved in the rally program is meticulous in the preparation for one of the toughest and most famous races in the world.
Toby Price (AUS, #3), Luciano Benavides (ARG, #77), Matthias Walkner (AUT, #1), Sam Sunderland (GBR, #14) & KTM 450 RALLY © Sebas Romero
The countdown has begun for the 2019 edition, which will be solely hosted in Peru, and with a vast majority of the 10 challenging stages being held on sandy terrain. It will not be easy.
The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team includes three Dakar champions; Toby Price (2016), who recently won the Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, Sam Sunderland (2017), Matthias Walkner (2018). They will be joined by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing young-gun Luciano Benavides, and KTM Factory Racing’s Laia Sanz – the fastest female rally racer in the world – as well as Mario Patrao. It’s a strong line-up that will definitely be a force to be reckoned with in January, as they begin the journey for one of the most difficult races on the planet aboard their KTM 450 RALLY factory machines. With 5,000 brutal kilometers, sleepless nights, difficult navigation, marathon stages and the test of endurance for both rider and machine, anything really can happen.
With the team’s final test ahead of Dakar complete, we wanted to share with you a cool video of the KTM factory racers in action just before their race machines were loaded onto the boat at Le Havre last week. With the bike and support vehicles’ journey overseas started, the final preparations are being made and in a month’s time we look forward to the start of Dakar 2019.
Photo: Sebas Romero
Video: Luca Piffaretti