Dakar 2022, the folds of the regulations: the pros and cons for electric cars

The novelties of the competition are a cross and a delight for alternative energy vehicles: favored by shorter stages and mandatory neutralization, but at risk in the marathon stage

The official numbers of the competition, announced by the general manager, David Castera, speak of 1030 competitors, out of 560 vehicles, of which 166 between motorbikes and quads, 193 between cars and SSVs, 57 trucks and 144 vehicles registered in the Dakar Classic with 49 nationalities present. . Many regulatory changes that the organization, Aso, announced to the teams and competitors: many changes dictated by the fact that the Dakar now belongs to the two Fia and Fim Cross Country Rally World Championships. The crackdown on many articles of the two regulations is inevitable for a competition that winks at alternative energies and the future. It is no coincidence that some of the decisions presented, and partly discussed with the team managers, go towards greater environmental sustainability.

New regulation

Legs not too long, and special always broken up, in two or even in three sections: those beautiful stages that made this race legendary, those 1000 km a day that bent even the toughest riders have disappeared, in favor of special stages no longer 465 km long, diluted between selective sectors, transfers and neutralizations. All this to allow the vehicles to refuel, during a neutralization that has become mandatory for everyone, even for those who have such large tanks that they can run for two days without ever needing to stop.

the unknown factor of the marathon stage

Measures that go in favor of electric vehicles that with two or three stages within the special stage, can partially recharge the batteries, and more and more will be able to do so in the future, in the Dakar which is proposing a starting order in the coming years entirely green. If Audi welcomes this decision with relief, it certainly experiences the first part of the marathon stage with more anguish, the famous stage without assistance in the evening that will take place on 3 and 4 January.

After the first long stage that will bring the entire rally caravan to Hail and a second stage of 546 kilometers in total, 334 of which are special stages, the German manufacturer is fielding the brand new fully electric RS Q e-tron at the start. to face like everyone else the first part of the marathon of 585 total kilometers with a first special of 339. But the new regulation requires that this sector be completed in order to continue the race: in case this does not happen the crew will not be able to access the bivouac of the marathon stage, located in Al Artawiyah and will not be able to start the next day for the second part of the marathon. He will be sent, as happened in the Monopoly game, directly to the Al Qaisumah bivouac without going through the street, without the selective sector of 368 kilometers that is, but only with a transfer.

the nightmare punctures

Penalties, disqualifications and continuation of the race in the Dakar Experience category, out of the general classification, excluded from the podium and deprived of the finisher medal, are just some of the measures that may involve the competitors, day after day. And to run into this sad fate it is enough just to puncture more than two tires always in the marathon stage: in fact, the evening before the start of the third stage in Hail, the tires of each FIA priority car will be marked. The four mounted on the car and the two spare will be marked by the stewards and the same tires will have to arrive at the bivouac of the fourth stage: if this does not happen the crew will be put out of the race.

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Dakar 2022, the folds of the regulations: the pros and cons for electric cars