Red Bull : Star-studded names to converge on Saudi Arabia for the 2021 Dakar Rally

Litany of champions past and present battle it out for new year rally glory.

The clock is ticking to the 2021 Dakar Rally as the world’s best off-road racers converge on Saudi Arabia for next month’s start.

The prologue takes place on January 2 with the start proper the following day on its second running in Saudi Arabia following its switch from South America for the 2020 edition.

A star-studded Red Bull Desert Wings squad will be chasing glory in the various categories over the course of the 7,646-kilometre course.

Here is all you need to know:
– Carlos Sainz begins the car class as reigning champion and once again will be driving a MINI JCW Buggy as he attempts a fourth victory in the prestigious event. Also driving the same machinery will be 13-time Dakar champion Stéphane Peterhansel.

– Bidding to challenge Sainz and Peterhansel for overall victory are the Toyota Hilux trio of Nasser Al-Attiyah, Giniel de Villiers and Kuba Przygonski. Both Al-Attiyah and de Villiers are former winners in the desert.

– Entering the Dakar for a fifth time is Sébastien Loeb, who is hoping to improve on his podium finish last year as he debuts Prodrive’s BRX T1, which features a bespoke 3.5-litre turbocharged engine.

– Five-time winner in the bike class, Cyril Despres, is once again on four wheels but this time co-driven by explorer Mike Horn in the pair’s Peugeot 3008 DKR. It is part of their preparation to enter the 2023 Dakar with a hydrogen-powered vehicle.

– Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will be aiming to return to winning ways after their 18-year victory run at the event was ended in January. Once more, Toby Price, Sam Sunderland and Matthias Walkner will battle it out for overall glory.

– Meanwhile, Daniel Sanders will be making his debut in the team’s colours while another bike challenger will be Indian entry CS Santosh, and Laia Sanz will once more be in the mix. Two-wheel debutants will be Damille Chapeliere and Mohammed Jaffar.