Carlos Checa will make his Dakar debut in 2022 with a buggy

The Spanish ex-MotoGP (1993-2007) and Superbikes (2008-2013) pilot, Carlos Checa, has announced that he will be taking part in the next edition (2022) of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.

Checa will make his debut in the toughest rally on the planet in the car category aboard an Optimus buggy belonging to the French team MD Rallye Sport. 

“The truth is that I have wanted to take part in the Dakar for a long time and finally, this year, all the circumstances have come together for me to take on this important challenge. I have always been attracted to challenges and this is a challenge with a capital letter.

The Dakar is the ultimate expression of motor racing from the point of view of adventure and challenge” – The Catalan pilot said in a public statement this Wednesday, in which he spoke about his new four-wheel project-.  

Despite his 49 years of age and the fact that he retired from racing eight seasons ago, the 2011 World Superbike Champion’s competitive spirit seems intact. Checa himself wanted to make clear that he is debuting in the desert rally not only because of the adventure appeal but with every intention to perform at his very best: 

“I’m hoping to have a great experience, fighting for the best possible results. I’m not going to Dakar for a mosey let’s say, or as a tourist”.  

A solid co-pilot 

Looking at the human and material resources that Checa has lined up for the occasion there is no doubt he means business. He will have the consummate Dakar co-pilot Ferran Marco by his side. Marco has taken part in the raid on 15 occasions since 1997, the last one in 2020 with the Andorran driver Albert Llovera aboard a De Rooy-Iveco team truck. 

“He is an exceptional guy, a great navigator and a person who puts a lot of rigour and professionalism in everything he does. So far, we have understood each other perfectly” – Said Checo about his new teammate-. 

This week Carlos Checa and Ferran Marco will be conducting some tests in Morocco to set up their machine together in preparation for the Dakar. They had already participated in the Baja de Aragon at the beginning of the year, with the aim of getting to know each other better and accumulating some kilometres in their buggy. 

An experienced and successful team 

As for MD Rallye Sport, the team that will be supporting him in the car category, Checa had the following to say: “They are passionate romantics from the motor world and have extraordinary professionalism and rigour”. 

The French team is already in itself a guarantee for success. Its director, Antoine Morel, is an accomplished specialist in the preparation of motorcycles, cars and quads. With the latter, he actually conquered the Dakar in 2005. 

In the team’s trajectory, there are eighteen editions of the Dakar Rally, with their best result a ninth place. In the World Raid Championship, however, they have done even better, conquering the Constructors category in 2009, as well as in the two-wheel-drive class. 

Carlos Checa will meet with Laia Sanz, the famous Spaniard rider, who will move on to four-wheel racing for Dakar 2022.

Images of Carlos Checa: Roger Claudet.

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