Hero MotoSports Team Rally has unveiled its plans for the Dakar Rally 2022. Participating with a two-rider team in their sixth consecutive Dakar Rally, Hero MotoSports – the motorsport team of Hero MotoCorp will take on the 2022 edition of the world’s most challenging rally with Franco Caimi and Joaquim Rodrigues. Both riders have achieved podium finishes in the Cross-Country Rallies Championship this season, at the Silk Way Rally and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge respectively, with Joaquim finishing the Championship in the fourth position. This will be the sixth Dakar for JRod, who has been with the Team since 2016. On the other hand, it will be the first for Franco in Hero MotoSports colors, following his signing in April 2021.
The duo of Joaquim and Franco will take on the challenges of the Dakar in Saudi Arabia astride the Hero 450 Rally bike, which now offers improved top speed and acceleration, as claimed by Hero MotoSports. Hero MotoSports Team Rally says that it wishes a speedy recovery to the other team pilots – Sebastian Buhler, winner of the Hungarian Baja 2021, who was on the roster for the Dakar 2022 but had to withdraw due to an injury at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, and CS Santosh, who is recovering from the crash he suffered in the 2021 edition of the Dakar Rally.
Dakar 2022, the third consecutive edition in Saudi Arabia, will run for 12 stages over 14 days. The rally will kick-start on January 1, 2022 with a short Prologue stage, and will then travel through various cities across the length and breadth of Saudi Arabia. A rest day in the capital city of Jeddah on January 8 is the only respite that the competitors will have on a route that covers 3,400 kms of racing distance. Covering a total of 8,000 kms, including the liaison stages, the competitors will then return to Jeddah for the finish podium on January 14, 2022. A total of 430 vehicles are expected to hit the start line, and 149 of them are in the motorcycles category.
The 44th edition of the Dakar Rally will also be the opening race of the newly formed World Rally Raid Championship (W2RC). The Rally Raid Championship, replacing the Cross-Country Rallies Championship, will run for five rounds with Dakar followed by the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Rally Kazakhstan, Andalucia Rally, and the Rally du Maroc.