WSBK champion Checa to compete in 2022 Dakar Rally

Former MotoGP rider and 2011 World Superbike champion Carlos Checa will make his Dakar Rally debut in January, competing in the cars category for MD Rallye Sport.

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Checa will drive the Optimus buggy prepared by French squad MD Rallye, partnering veteran co-driver Ferran Marco.

Marco brings with him a wealth of experience of competing in Dakar, having actively participated in the cross-country event since 1997, most recently as Albert Llovera’s navigator at the De Rooy-Iveco trucks team.

Checa and Marco together contested the Baja Aragon earlier this year and are currently testing in Morocco to prepare for the former’s first foray in the prestigious Saudi Arabia-based rally raid.

"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,” said Checa.

"Since I left active competition as a SBK rider, I have not stopped racing all kinds of events on two and four wheels and the Dakar is the ultimate expression of motor racing from the point of view of adventure and challenge. I have always been attracted to challenges and this is a challenge with a capital letter.”

"At this point in my life I still want to compete and I do it often in different disciplines, but always prioritizing feeling comfortable and, above all, sharing values and approaches with who accompanies me in each new challenge. It is something more important than running to run. In that sense, Morel and the people of MD Rallye Sport fit perfectly with my way of seeing racing and life."

Owned by Dakar veteran Antoine Morel, MD Rally Sport won the world rally raid championship in 2009 but has never finished higher than ninth in Dakar.

"In addition to having a very competitive material developed and manufactured by themselves, Antoine Morel and his MD Rallye Sport structure are passionate romantics from the motor world and have extraordinary professionalism and rigor,” the Spaniard said of his team.

“Precisely for this reason, they fit into what I was looking for to face my first Dakar: competitiveness, professionalism and rigor and all this from the romanticism and passion for racing.”

The 2022 Dakar Rally will run from January 2-14 in Saudi Arabia, having shifted from its previous home in South America in 2020.

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