Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing team on the way to Dakar 2016
The famous Dakar Rally kicks off in Buenos Aires for its 38th edition in just 44 days. The Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Racing Team, already with 14 consecutive victories, goes to the rally with a strong team of five factory riders committed to once again hunting down yet another victory.
Parallel to the A.S.O. (event organizers) press conference in Paris, the KTM vehicles traveled in convoy to the French port of Le Havre. It is from here that all of KTM’s material and equipment for the Dakar Rally is loaded ready for the four-week trip to South America. Before the team flies to Argentina for the start of the rally on January 3, they will travel to Morocco at the beginning of December for a final GPS training session on the KTM 450 RALLY.
Alex Doringer (KTM Division Manager Enduro and Rally): “Morocco will be the last joint training session for our riders. Then they will all individually prepare for the arduous two-week battle that they face in the rally. In addition to fitness training especially adapted to suit the extreme altitudes in Argentina and Bolivia, proper nutrition and an adequate regeneration phase are crucial before the Dakar.”
The team’s British rider Sam Sunderland, who won the final round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies Championship ahead of team colleague and current world champion Matthias Walkner, is facing his own race against time. One week after the last rally of the season, he fractured his femur in training.
“Back home in Dubai, Sam is doing everything possible to be fit for the rally. The team is ready for him to take part. But whether he is able to start in his fourth Dakar depends on whether the doctors give him the all clear after a fitness test in mid-December. KTM is again at the Dakar with a very strong team in 2016. As well as Toby Price, who last year was a sensational third in his first Dakar, we have Matthias Walkner, the current rally world champion, Jordi Viladoms as team regular and podium candidate and our rally rookie Antoine Meo,” Doringer said.
Spanish rider Laia Sanz, who last year finished ninth overall, completes the orange lineup. Sanz starts in 2016 in the KTM Rally Factory Racing Team but with her own sponsors. Riders face some changes in this edition, including a prologue before the first stage and changed start intervals for the top 10 riders. The team also faces huge challenges in South America that include a 20-hour marathon ride from bivouac to bivouac and four days over 4000m altitude.