Sand and deliver the Dakar 2022: January events

With its dream team of Peterhansel, Ekström and Sainz the Elder, will Audi be running rings around its competitors in the desert?

Audi Dakar car

Twelve days in the desert start from Ha’Il in Saudi Arabia’s north, through Riyadh and finishing in Jeddah

Dakar Rally 2022, January 2-14

Audi says it is facing one of its greatest challenges in motor sport with its entry to the Dakar Rally in 2022.

The Four Rings will make its first foray into the historic rally raid event next year with a superstar line-up of Mattias Ekström, Carlos Sainz and Stéphane Peterhansel.

Seventeen Dakar victories between them will make the team a formidable force and there will be no stone unturned in Audi’s desert preparations.

The three teams will each pilot the prototype RS Q e-tron running via an electric drivetrain with a high-voltage battery and a highly efficient energy converter.

Stephane Peterhansel and Edouard Boulanger

Audi’s French duo Stéphane Peterhansel and Édouard Boulanger won the Dakar last year

With what amounts to Dakar royalty at the wheel, there are high hopes for Audi’s first journey into the desert. The innovation isn’t restricted there, though.

Gaussin is entering the world’s first hydrogen racing truck. Featuring two 300kW e-motors, 80kg of hydrogen and 82kWh of batteries, the H2, designed by Pininfarina, will be capable of a full recharge in 20 minutes at hydrogen cooling stations.

Not to be left out, the bike category has its own major news story heading into the rally. KTM will enter Danilo Petrucci after the Spaniard’s exit from MotoGP competition at the end of 2021.

The Dakar is a long-time dream for Petrucci, who has targeted a finish in his first attempt riding the KTM 450 Rally and has ramped up training following the end of his final premier class MotoGP season.

The 44th edition of the Dakar, the third to take place in Saudi Arabia, will kick off the motor sporting year on January 2.

Gulf 12 Hours
Abu Dhabi, January 8

The endurance racing season in the Middle East gets underway with the Gulf 12 Hours. This year’s edition switches from Bahrain to the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi and there’s a healthy 39-car field ready for action.

Winter Endurance Championship
Zandvoort, January 8

Racing might be hard to come by until spring, but the Winter Endurance Championship fills the void in Europe. The Zandvoort 500 began the mini-series in November and the New Year’s Race (Nieuwjaarsrace) is Round 2, pitching GT and touring cars against one another across four divisions.

Monte-Carlo Rally
WRC Round 1, January 20-23

The World Rally Championship’s new era begins with the traditional season-opening Monte-Carlo Rally. The Rally1 regulations aim to make the sport more accessible, but will they lead to a close championship battle in 2022? Toyota’s Sébastien Ogier secured victory here last year.

24 Hours of daytona

24 Hours of Daytona
January 29-30

The 60th running of the 24 Hours of Daytona kicks off the 2022 IMSA SportsCar Championship. Along with the usual prototype action the new GTD PRO class will debut following the extinction of GTLM. Wayne Taylor Racing took overall honours last year in an Acura ARX-05 to equal the all-time wins record with four victories in the endurance event.

More events

January 13-15 Dubai 24 Hours
January 21-23 Roar Before the 24, Daytona
January 28-29 Formula E Rounds 1 & 2, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia