The crew of Juknevičs and Zariņš has already received their Toyota Hilux vehicle and is preparing for the start scheduled for January 2. Upon arrival in Saudi Arabia, competitors must first wait for a negative covid test result and receive approval from the Administrative and Technical Commission by January 1 to be considered a competitor.
Didzis Zariņš for the Dakar Rally before the start of the race
For Zariņš, the feelings in the sand of the Arabian Peninsula seem closer to the original Dakar in Africa than to South America, where the presence of civilization was constantly felt during the competition. In Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, the environment is more like that of Africa, the co-pilot explained.
Zariņš has participated in the Dakar Rally five times, and his best success is the 26th place together with Andris Dambis.
In Saudi Arabia, large dunes have been removed from the route, which Zariņš hoped for as a force balancing factor, as small sands are more convenient for large teams. The route was probably changed so that Audi electric cars would not drain the batteries very quickly in the big sand, Zariņš explained the unofficial justification for the change.
When preparing the car for start-up, Zariņš has already adjusted the chairs and belts, as well as the navigation systems are connected and tested. Before the official start, the crew is scheduled to go through a test phase to make sure everything is working as it should.
The Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia will take place from 2 to 14 January. Zariņš had the opportunity to participate because Jukneviča’s usual co-driver had other plans this time.
The Dakar Rally has been running since 1979, when the route was from Paris to the Senegalese capital Dakar. Due to various circumstances, the rally has not been held in Africa since 2008, but has retained the brand’s worthy name. After several years of racing in South America, the rally has been taking place in Saudi Arabia since 2020.
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