Dakar 2021: Preparations completed in Jeddah
Jan 1, 2021
- Team and cars ready for the Dakar 2021
- Dakar 2021 starts with Prologue tomorrow
The start of the Rally Dakar 2021 in Saudi Arabia is just a few hours away. The X-raid Yamaha Racing Rally Supported Team has completed its preparations on site and is now looking forward to getting started. Tomorrow sees the competitors take part in the Prologue near Jeddah, before they head out onto the route for leg one of the Dakar 2021 the following day.
The first few days in Saudi Arabia were rather different for the X-raid team members. After arriving, they all had to quarantine for two days in a hotel. This was followed by a Covid 19 test. The two SxS crews then attended the Shakedown, just outside Jeddah, on 31st December 2020. Final modifications and adjustments were made to the Side-by-Side vehicles at the final test before the rally gets underway. The Yamaha YXZ1000R prototypes had been transported straight to Jeddah following their successful outing at the Baja Hail in the middle of December. Ekström and Liparoti secured first and second place in the T3 class in the national classification in Hail.
The practical preparations were followed by the theory: administrative checks for the drivers and technical scrutineering for the race cars. Measures to protect against Covid 19 have meant a large reduction in the number of people involved in the checks, while the briefings, which would usually be attended by all the competitors in one big hall, were held online.
The competitors will complete an eleven-kilometre Prologue near Jeddah on 2nd January. The sandy route will determine the starting order for the first leg, from Jeddah to Bisha.
Mattias Ekström: “In the past few days we have made the last adjustments to the vehicle. Tonight we still have to do the last administrative checks, but I can hardly wait for the Dakar to finally start. It feels like the preparations have taken forever.”
Camelia Liparoti: “Yesterday we did our shakedown and it was great to be back in the side-by-side. We used the time to make the final adjustments to the car and to further improve the cooperation in the cockpit. We can not wait for the start. In tomorrow’s prologue we will push without taking too many risks. I feel very comfortable in the car and in the X-raid team. For me it is the first time that I am competing with a professional team. Annett and I want to do our best. In 2020 we had bad luck, but we learned a lot and that will certainly help us in 2021.”