2020 Dakar Rally to kick off tomorrow: New location, new rules, two Indian teams

2020 Dakar Rally is the 42nd edition of the motorsport rally which is considered the most dangerous rally in the world. This year the rally will be held a bit closer to its roots in the desert-terrain of Saudi Arabia instead of North America.

By: | Updated: January 4, 2020 9:59 PM

2020 Dakar Rally is set to flag off tomorrow with 12 stages traversing through a distance of 13,000 km. While the name Dakar (the capital city of Senegal) relates to its history, this time the location of the rally has been moved a tad closer to its roots - a desert-location in Saudi Arabia. The rally will begin 5th January and last until 17th January commencing at Jeddah passing through Riyadh and with the finish line at Al Qiddiya. The rally which is open to cars, motorcycles, quads, trucks, and UTVs has been dominated by KTM in the two-wheeled category for about two decades. This could be KTM's 19th consecutive victory with the same squad it reigned on the top three positions last year.

During the MotoSoul 2019 motorcycle festival, TVS announced the squad for the Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team heading for the Dakar Rally 2020. The company's team includes Michael Merge from France, Enduro Champion Lorenzo Santolino from Spain and Johnny Aubert from France. India's Harith Noah will be making his debut at the Dakar Rally.

Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team had a great year with some impressive performances at all international events in 2019 like Merzouga Rally, Desert Storm and Baja Aragon. With this, the company is eyeing a strong finish at Dakar 2020.

Indian rider and Dakar 2019 finisher Aravind KP, who was a part of the TVS Racing team since 2006, sustained a leg injury during his practice session earlier this year due to which he will not be able to participate in Dakar Rally 2020. KP completed the 2019 edition of Dakar at 37th position that made him the only Indian to finish the rally.

This one is Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team's sixth consecutive year of its participation in the Rally. Michael Metge who was gearing for his seventh outing at this Rally this year, however, has been forced to sit it out due to medical reasons following his fall in Morocco and he will be replaced by his brother, Adrien Metge. Lorenzo Santolino will be making his second appearance at Dakar Rally. The team also welcomes Johnny Aubert, who finished sixth in Dakar 2018 and brings with him 35 years of racing experience. Last but definitely not the least, the fourth rider, Harith Noah from India has shown tremendous performance in international rallies.

Hero MotoSports Team Rally, the motorsport team of Hero MotoCorp, also announced its squad in November for Dakar Rally 2020. With impressive results over previous three years, the Team this year will be represented by - 2019 Pan Africa Rally winner - Joaquim Rodrigues, Ace Indian rider - CS Santosh, Former World Rally Champion - Paulo Goncalves and Sebastian Buhler.

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