There has been a 22 per cent reduction in participants and a 24 per cent drop in registrations, the lowest since 1995 for the upcoming Dakar 2021. However, the silver lining is that the top names and brands are very much a part of the rally including the factory Indian teams.
The effects of COVID-19 will spill over to 2021 and a very real effect will be seen in the upcoming Dakar Rally that is scheduled to take place in January next year. The 2021 Dakar will feature the lowest participation since 1995, as a result of the pandemic. According to the total tally of entries in the world’s most challenging rally, the 2021 Dakar will have 440 participants (266 vehicles) in the next edition, according to the provisional entry list published by organiser Amaury Sport Organisation. In comparison, the 2020 edition saw 563 participants (342 vehicles), while the 2019 edition that was the last South American edition held in Peru had 541 participants (334 vehicles).
According to the data released, there has been a 22 per cent reduction in participants and a 24 per cent drop in registrations, the lowest registered by organisers since 1995. On the bright side, the big names will come back to the rally including the likes of Carlos Sainz Sr. and Lucas Cruz, Nasser Al-Attiyah, Stephane Peterhansel, Sebastien Loeb with the new BRX T1, Nani Roma, Giniel de Villiers, Yazeed Al Rajhi and Jakub Przygonski, all of whom will be competing in the cars category.
All the big bike brands also come back to the dunes of Saudi Arabia that include regular winners like KTM, Yamaha, Honda, Husqvarna, as well as Indian factory team Hero MotoSports Team Rally and the Sherco-TVS Rally Team. In fact, India’s very own privateer Ashish Raorane is set to compete in the Dakar Rally in 2021 in the Malle Moto category.
— DAKAR RALLY (@dakar) November 7, 2020
The 2021 Dakar Rally has seen a number of rule changes to make the sport safer to the participants, after two tragic deaths of riders in the previous edition. There will also be a new Dakar Classic category next year for historic Dakar vehicles to participate in the rally. More details on the next edition will be officially presented on November 25, 2020. The 43rd edition of the Dakar Rally is scheduled to take place between January 3 – January 15, 2021.