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Nasser Al-Attiyah scores maiden win with Prodrive at Dubai International Baja

Nasser Al-Attiyah did not need long to get used to his new ride in the Prodrive Hunter, and was already a race winner in just his second start for the team.

His début with Prodrive at the Baja Portalegre 500, just two weeks after clinching the World Rally-Raid Championship in his final race for Toyota, was overshadowed by a penalty and lost time to a damaged windshield wiper in the mud of Portugal that relegated him to fifth. The Dubai International Baja, on the other hand, presented wide-open dunes akin to most rounds on the W2RC calendar like the Dakar Rally that gave him a chance to showcase the Hunter’s potential as he won the first two stages before being edged out by Yazeed Al-Rajhi in Stage #3.

Like in the W2RC, Al-Attiyah beat Al-Rajhi for the overall win by over five minutes. The victory also put the bow atop a dominant campaign in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas, where Al-Attiyah never finished worse than second in his four Bajas for Toyota and had twice as many points as João Ferreira entering the finale in Dubai. It is his second Bajas title after 2008, while he became the first driver to win a World Cup with two different manufacturers as well as the first to complete the triple crown of a World Cup, World Championship, and Dakar Rally in the same year.

“We really enjoyed being in the car as we worked hard to make a good result for the team too,” said Al-Attiyah. “We learned a lot for the next step, the Dakar. Thank you to the team who got the car here and who have engineered it for us to take this win. It’s a great start to take this victory and get ready for Dakar and think we can make it in Saudi Arabia to win the Dakar in January.”

Ferreira won the T4 class in his first Baja in a Can-Am Maverick for South Racing ahead of European Cup T4 regular Amerigo Ventura. The former, who normally races Bajas in a Mini and intends to continue doing so for the 2024 Portuguese Cross-Country Championship, also won on début in the W2RC’s T4 class at the Rallye du Maroc in October.

Mason Klein partners with Kove Moto for 2024 Dakar Rally

Mason Klein will still run the 2024 Dakar Rally as a privateer, but has gained a much-needed factory backer. On Tuesday, Kove Moto announced Klein will race the #98 Kove 450 Rally EX at Dakar, marking the Chinese manufacturer’s début in the top-level RallyGP category. While Klein is technically not part of the flagship team as he is racing under his Klein Off-Road Racing Team banner, he will have equal access to parts and resources as his factory counterparts.

“I think the bike is ready to go,” said Klein. “I really feel like I wouldn’t go there if I wasn’t there to win. Top ten is the easy part; we already did that. My mom says ‘finish,’ but last time I told my mom I wanted top ten and we got it, so this time I’m saying I want to win. That’s the goal.”

The 2022 World Rally-Raid Champion in the Rally2 class, Klein graduated to RallyGP in 2023 with BAS World KTM Racing Team. Despite his youth and quick pace, winning a stage at the Dakar Rally, he was out of a ride midseason due to a lack of funding. In the meantime, he took part in events like the Rally dos Sertões in Brazil and the 1000 Dunas Rally in Spain and Morocco, both races that he won.

To keep his career afloat, Klein continued to try opening talks with other teams in addition to fundraising via Venmo and PayPal as well as selling t-shirts. In September, he partnered with Coyote Trail Adventures to organise a bike ride to raise money for his Dakar effort. By October, however, he admitted that hunting for interested teams was proving to be a difficult endeavour.

The move to Kove, while not making him a factory rider in the traditional sense, provides him an opportunity with a manufacturer that has been rapidly growing their rally raid programme. Last week, Kove revealed an upgraded 450 Rally that is lighter but more powerful than its predecessor.

PREVIEW: 2023 SCORE World Desert Championship – Baja 1000

The golden season of the SCORE International World Desert Championship will come to a close this week with the fifty-sixth running of the legendary Baja 1000. Racing begins on Thursday, 16 November, with the Bikes setting out at 1 AM MST followed by the Four-Wheel classes at 9 AM.

Luke McMillin and Rob MacCachren enter as the reigning Four-Wheeler winners, while Mark Samuels, Justin Morgan, and Kendall Norman won on Bikes in 2022.

The Course

For the first time, the Baja 1000 will start in La Paz before running northwards to finish at SCORE’s headquarters in Ensenada. The course is 1,310.94 miles (2,109.75 km) long for Pro categories, the second longest in the race’s history behind the 1,679.54 of the 2000 edition to celebrate the turn of the millennium, while Sportsman classes get a bypass that shortens their race distance to 1,197.04 mi (1,926.44 km). All competitors have fifty hours to complete the race.

Further details of the route can be read in TCF‘s story of its reveal.

The Baja 1000 will be the first race to prohibit competitors from overtaking each other within the first 100 feet after leaving a Speed Zone, which are certain locations that mandate a certain speed due to Mexican federal law. Violators will be automatically disqualified.

Amidst AOE split, Championship Off-Road adds Deadwood to 2024 calendar

As short course appears headed for another fork in the road, Championship Off-Road remains committed to its path with a six-race schedule in 2024 despite the loss of the legendary Crandon International Off-Road Raceway. With Crandon defecting to the new Pro Series established by American Outdoor Events, the owner of 2023 COR season finale host MidAmerica Outdoors, the older series has filled the gaps with a second date at Dirt City Motorplex and a new round in South Dakota.

Both Crandon race weekends, the Forest County Potawatomi Brush Run and World Championship Off-Road Races, are now part of the AOE Pro Series as is the MidAmerica Outdoors Off-Road National. ERX Motor Park and Bark River International Raceway will cater to both series.

Meanwhile, Dirt City’s loyalty to COR has rewarded the Lena track with a second race. Besides the usual Dirt City Off-Road National, Mayhem at the Motorplex in May has been added to the schedule, marking the earliest that the series began its season. Mayhem at the Motorplex was previously a weekend reserved for Sportsman classes but will now also include Pro categories.

Antigo Lions Roaring Raceway will begin the summer in June after hosting the season opener. After returning to Bark River in late July, the series heads to ERX and Bark River. The latter will be the final race for Sportsman competitors.

The season will end in Deadwood, South Dakota, for the Pro classes. The city’s Days of 76 Event Complex rodeo grounds hosts COR’s sister series AMSOIL Snocross in the winter, though a new course will be developed for the short course trucks and UTVs.

Jerome de Sadeleer returning to Dakar Rally in 2024

Jérôme de Sadeleer was forced to skip the 2023 Dakar Rally due to back injuries sustained in a massive crash while competing in the Michelin Le Mans Cup at Portimao in October 2022. A year later, he is back for his second start in the legendary rally. He will drive the #420 Can-Am Maverick for MMP Compétition in the SSV (formerly T4) class with Michael Metge as co-driver.

De Sadeleer finished twenty-fifth in T4 in his maiden Dakar. Despite being set back in the overall by a mechanical issue two days later, he still scored top-ten stage finishes in all but two of the twelve legs and ran as high as fifth in Stage #7. Afterwards, his racing schedule consisted of both rallies and pavement races, winning the T4 class at the Baja Aragón in July while also competing in the European Le Mans Series and Le Mans Cup.

His accident occurred in the final race of the 2022 Le Mans Cup at Portimao when he tried to avoid two cars that had slowed in front of him as the safety car came to pit lane. As he served right to dodge Freddie Hunt, de Sadeleer slammed into the pit wall, destroying his Ligier JS P320. The crash resulted in a thirty-minute red flag that also forced the ELMS’ 4 Hours of Portimao to be delayed.

Despite missing Dakar, he returned to MV2S Racing for the 2023 Le Mans Cup and Asian Le Mans Series. Sharing the MV2S Racing Ligier with Vyacheslav Gutak and Fabien Lavergne, he placed runner-up in the ALMS LMP3 standings with a win in Dubai and podium finishes in all four races. In the Le Mans Cup, he and Christophe Cresp were fourteenth with a podium at Spa.

“After the setback of missing last year’s edition because of my big crash, this comeback means the world to me,” wrote de Sadeleer on Saturday. “Huge gratitude to Team Galag and Talal Al Saud for making this dream a reality again. Also, a warm welcome to Laurance Escalane/Lance East Exotics and B.I. Collection who are supporting me for this edition, without you it would not be possible!”

Short course legend Kyle LeDuc dies at 42

Kyle LeDuc, a legend who excelled in virtually every off-road series he tried, died Saturday at the age of 42 after a year of battling cancer.

He was diagnosed with stage IV head and neck cancer in late 2022, which forced him to skip the Extreme E season finale in Uruguay. LeDuc went public about his battle in June as it prevented him from racing for the 2023 Championship Off-Road Pro 4 title.

Although unable to race in 2023, his presence continued to be felt as early as the COR season opener at Antigo Lions Roaring Raceway, which featured a new course designed by LeDuc. Many competitors also placed “99 Strong” decals in solidarity with his cancer fight, while Short Course Kart driver Race Visser donated his prize money for sweeping the Crandon Bush Run weekend to raise funds for his treatment. LeDuc returned to the track when the series went back to Crandon in September, where his chrome-liveried truck took part in the driver’s parade.

In his final season of racing, LeDuc finished runner-up for the 2022 COR Pro 4 title with three wins. He also ran his second season in the nascent Extreme E series for Chip Ganassi Racing with Sara Price, and the duo scored their first win at that year’s Island X Prix.

“Crazy to think it was only a year ago we were racing as teammates and got our first win being the American team,” wrote Price. “[Kyle] was the fastest man I have ever known behind the wheel of an off-road machine! He was known to go for it and push boundaries people never thought of as an athlete and all racing aside loved his family more than anything! You were way too young to go and I hope you make Heaven a faster place!”

Kristoffersson Takes Title As Hansen Wins In Hong Kong

Johan Kristoffersson has won the 2023 FIA World Rallycross Championship. The Swede sealed the deal in the semi-final of the first event in the double-header weekend in Hong Kong. A problem in the final meant that victory went to Kevin Hansen for the first time this season, followed by Niclas Grönholm in second and Timo Scheider, winner of the previous round, in third.

The spectacular final turn and Joker lap in Hong Kong. Credit: Joerg Mitter / Red Bull Content Pool


Due to “unforseen construction delays,” the action was somewhat truncated in Hong Kong, meaning there were only two heats before the semi-finals. The circuit in the Central Harbourfront area of the city is brand new, being built overnight before the event. As commentator Hal Ridge noted, “the loose surface is brand new. It hasn’t got years of bedrock under it. It’s very soft on the top. Of course, it’s well compacted together, but it’s going to evolve a lot.”

It was a wet start to the day, adding yet another challenge into the mix. Kevin Hansen led the way in the first heat, but was challenged all the way by Kristoffersson. Klara Andersson battled well with Kristoffersson but faded away slightly by the end of the race. Her teammate, Grönholm, took the win in his first heat, but complained that the track was getting too bumpy already. Despite this, it was an encouraging start for the CE Dealer Team who have had a rough run of form in recent events.

Niclas Grönholm was back on form in Hong Kong. Credit: @World / Red Bull Content Pool

That momentum continued into heat two, where he won his heat race, managing to finish ahead of the supremely fast Kristoffersson and Hansen. Kristoffersson’s teammate Ole Christian Veiby survived a difficult race to take his heat win ahead of Timmy Hansen and Scheider. Kevin Hansen topped the rankings at the end of the heats ahead of Grönholm and Kristoffersson.


All Kristoffersson had to do to claim the title was finish third in his semi-final. It was by no means a done deal. Kevin Hansen brilliantly forced Kristoffersson out wide at the first corner in an attempt to push him down the ranking. Hansen’s teammates, Timmy Hansen and Patrick O’Donovan, making his World RX debut, had a fantastic battle during the race having both done their joker lap early. Kristoffersson was therefore afforded a little bit of breathing room and finished in third position, just 1.1 seconds ahead of O’Donovan.

Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa bringing three Hiluxes to 2024 Dakar Rally

Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa will field three Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+ at the 2024 Dakar Rally. While former winner Giniel de Villiers will run his twenty-first Dakar, the other two Hiluxes will be piloted by newcomers Guy Botterill and Saood Variawa.

De Villiers has raced at Dakar since 2003, winning the 2009 edition in a Volkswagen. He joined Toyota’s new Dakar programme in 2012 and has recorded five overall podiums in the decade since. His 2023 Dakar was marred by a retirement in Stage #6 that knocked him out of the overall, but a litany of other retirements kept him in the top five and he finished fourth. He is also the defending South African Rally-Raid Champion.

He has completed all twenty of his Dakar starts, a finish streak that ties him with Yoshimasa Sugawara (1989 to 2009) for the longest in race history. As such, reaching the 2024 finish will earn him the outright record.

Botterill is pursuing the South African Rally-Raid Championship, trailing Gareth Woolridge who is also making his Dakar début in 2024. He has plenty of momentum entering this weekend’s season-ending Waterberg 400 after winning the Parys 400 before finishing second to Woolridge at last month’s Renergen 400.

Eighteen-year-old Variawa made his rally raid début at the SARRC’s TGR 1000 Desert Race in June. Despite his youth, he has quickly proven his mettle after moving into the discipline from touring cars. His father Shameer, himself a Dakar veteran and SARRC champion, owns GR DKR Hilux developer SVR Hallspeed.

ALL1 Dakar locked in for 2024 Dakar Rally

Álex Llibre would have been proud of what his twin brother Carlos has achieved. Six years since Álex’s passing, Carlos is set to tick off one of the biggest items on his brother’s bucket list: competing in the Dakar Rally.

Carlos and his friends Javier “Javi” Amat de Caralt, Fernando “Fer” Conde Targa, Josep “Pepe” Martí Suñer, Josep Pedró Subirats, and Xavier “Xavi” Pes Bosck will run the 2024 Dakar Rally in the Rally2 class, competing under the ALL1 Dakar Team banner. Álvaro Andreu, the seventh member of the gang, hurt his back while riding with Pes in the dunes and was unable to enter any races to qualify for Dakar; ddespite his absence, the team plans to bring Andreu out to Saudi Arabia anyway to cheer them on.

The programme was formed shortly after Álex died in a motorcycle accident in 2017. He left behind a bucket list of 101 articles that included entering marathons and triathlons, while the fifth item was to run the Dakar on a bike. “ALL1” is shorthand for the slogan “All as One”.

The group entered various cross-country rallies together starting with the 2022 Rallye du Maroc, which is part of the World Rally-Raid Championship like the Dakar Rally and where winners of the Road to Dakar challenge can earn free registration. Llibre retired after crashing and breaking his collarbone while the others reached the finish with Pedró leading them in the Rally2 class with a twentieth ahead of Amat (fortieth), Pes (forty-ninth), Marti (fifty-first), Andreu (fifty-seventh), and Conde (fifty-eighth).

ALL1’s first race of 2023 was the Baja TT Dehesa Extremadura in April, part of the FIM Bajas World Cup, where Pedró finished fourth overall with Llibre in eighteenth. Pedró continued to impress at the Baja Aragón three months later, placing third among Open 450cc riders. In August, Llibre scored a top ten in the Rally2 and fifth in the Road to Dakar at the W2RC’s Desafío Ruta 40 to clinch his Dakar ticket. Pedró followed suit at last month’s W2RC season-ending Rallye du Maroc where he was fourteenth in Rally2 and fifth among Road to Dakar entrants.

Brennan Poole joins Alpha Prime for 2024 Xfinity

Brennan Poole will race for Alpha Prime Racing for the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, driving the #44 Chevrolet Camaro.

Poole moves over from JD Motorsports, finishing twenty-fourth in the 2023 standings with a best finish of fifth at Talladega. He joined JDM in late 2022, giving him a stable ride in a national series after spending the past two years as a journeyman. Besides Xfinity, he also made seven Cup Series starts with Rick Ware Racing and three in the Craftsman Truck Series for G2G Racing.

He raced full-time in the Xfinity Series in 2016 and 2017, placing eighth and sixth in points with Chip Ganassi Racing. Due to a lack of funding, his only other full campaign came in the 2020 Cup Series where he placed thirty-second in points.

Alpha Prime fielded three cars in 2023, all split between multiple drivers. The #44 was piloted by Greg Van Alst, Caesar Bacarella, Rajah Caruth, Dawson Cram, Conor Daly, Daniel Dye, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Leland Honeyman, Sage Karam, Dylan Lupton, Stefan Parsons, and Brad Pérez, finishing thirty-fifth in owner points with a best run of twelfth at Martinsville courtesy of Caruth.

Veloce to race chrome livery selected in fan vote in Chile

Veloce Racing will make their last charge at the 2023 Extreme E title in their third different livery of the year. On Thursday, the team revealed a purple-and-chrome paint scheme that will be run at the season-ending Copper X Prix on 2/3 December.

The livery was selected as part of a vote for VEXT cryptocurrency holders in October. Other options included a half-and-half purple/black scheme and a purple and black design.

Credit: Veloce Racing

“VEXT token holders have chosen a unique chrome livery for our Extreme E team in Chile,” said Veloce CEO Rupert Svendsen-Cook. “We can’t wait to see the virtual come to life in a real-world racing team, during a milestone weekend for Veloce and our fans as we also fight for the championship title.”

Veloce traditionally races with a black-and-green livery, but substituted the green for red for the Hydro X Prix in May to plug their new sponsor E.ON. The team won with both cars in 2023, claiming the first race of the season-opening Desert X Prix followed by Race #2 of the Hydro X Prix.

Entering Chile, the Veloce duo of Kevin Hansen and Molly Taylor rank third in the championship with 118 points, trailing ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team and Rosberg X Racing by twenty-one and eighteen, respectively.

Christine GZ making Dakar Rally debut in 2024

Christine GZ is heading to the Dakar Rally in 2024, where she will pilot the #429 Can-Am Maverick in the SSV class (formerly known as T4). Ricardo Torlaschi will serve as her navigator in his twelfth start.

“So thankful, so excited, can’t even explain the cramps in the stomach lately,” wrote GZ on Thursday. “So much work, so much effort, finally here. Soon we will let you know more.”

GZ is a Can-Am Off-Road Ambassador who has competed in cross-country rallies since 2018. She finished twelfth overall at the 2019 Sonora Rally and fifth among Road to Dakar entrants, where winners would have earned free registration for the Dakar Rally; Sonora is a former round of the World Rally-Raid Championship. Sonora was not her only experience in Mexico as she also ran that year’s Baja 1000, placing seventh in the Pro UTV FI class with Torlaschi as co-driver.

She has also regularly raced in the Spanish Cross-Country Rally Championship, finishing second in the 2021 T1N points battle.

Outside of cross-country, she competes in traditional rally.

Kirsten Landman skipping 2024 Dakar Rally

Kirsten Landman‘s third Dakar Rally will have to wait until 2025. Feeling she has not fully recovered from pulmonary embolism, Landman confirmed Thursday that she will skip the 2024 race.

Landman was diagnosed with pulmonary embolism, a potentially fatal blood clot in the lungs, after finishing twelfth among Malle Moto riders at the 2023 Dakar Rally in January. She contracted COVID-19 during the race, causing her to experience heavy fatigue and flu-like symptoms during the rally’s second half, though she was unaware of her specific illness until she conducted tests upon returning home.

She was medically cleared to resume riding in April and competed in enduro events such as the Red Bull Romaniacs and Tennessee Knockout Enduro, winning the latter in the Women’s Pro Class. Her latest race was a runner-up finish in the Silver Class at the Sea to Sky in October. Landman revealed her plan to race the 2024 Dakar in June.

While enduro is no walk in the park either, Landman feels the demands of rallies in the Saudi desert for two weeks are too great for her to tackle so soon. Such a rally’s challenges are also amplified as a Malle Moto rider, meaning she competes without assistance from a team.

“This just goes back to the tough decision I made but definitely for the better after contracting COVID at Dakar, coming home, and then having to deal with my pulmonary embolism which we are still dealing with,” Landman explained. “My body’s changed, things have changed, and it’s not so quick and easy for me to recover like I used to and dealing with that during the recovery process.

Seth Quintero, Lucas Moraes to race for Toyota Gazoo Racing at 2024 Dakar Rally

Fresh off winning the 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship in the T3 class, Seth Quintero will move up to the top-level Ultimate (T1) category in 2024 with powerhouse Toyota Gazoo Racing. On Thursday, TGR announced Quintero and Lucas Moraes will race the Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1+ at the Dakar Rally, with Dennis Zenz and Armand Monleón respectively as co-drivers.

Quintero battled with his Red Bull team-mates Austin Jones and Mitch Guthrie for the T3 championship in 2023, beating the latter by just five points. After finishing runner-up to Jones at Dakar, Quintero beat Jones for the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge victory. Despite poor finishes at the next two rounds, he placed second at the season-ending Rallye du Maroc to clinch the title.

Hours after the final stage in Morocco, Quintero got his first taste of a Hilux as part of the W2RC Next Gen Tryouts, designed to let drivers in the T3 and T4 categories pilot T1+ cars. Pau Navarro, a former T4 competitor and fellow tryout participant in a Mini, also confirmed his move up to Ultimate for 2024 on Thursday.

Moraes signed with TGR’s Brazilian subsidiary in July, on the heels of an impressive Dakar Rally début when he finished third overall in T1. He continued his momentum in his maiden start as a TGR Brasil driver with a runner-up at the Baja Aragón. Both races were won by Nasser Al-Attiyah, who added five Dakar Rallies, two World Rally-Raid Championships, and three Cross-Country Bajas World Cups for TGR before departing the team at the end of the 2023 W2RC season.

Zenz follows Quintero from T3, while Monleón raced the Dakar on a bike from 2016 to 2019 before becoming a navigator. He and Jakub Przygonski finished eighteenth at the Dakar Rally in January in a Mini for X-raid Team.

Pau Navarro to race Mini JCW Rally Plus for X-raid at 2024 Dakar Rally

Shortly after making his T1 début at the Rallye du Maroc in October, Pau Navarro got to drive a Mini John Cooper Works Rally Plus as part of the World Rally-Raid Championship‘s Next Gen Tryouts that let young drivers test cars in the top-level T1+ subcategory. His time in the Mini went so well that X-raid Team has offered him a chance to race one at the 2024 Dakar Rally.

“This team has had several Dakar champions such as Nasser (Al-Attiyah), Nani (Roma), (Carlos) Sainz, and (Stéphane) Peterhansel,” said Navarro. “I am very happy to be able to compete with a team like this and that they have called me to race. We are going to try to give everything we got to achieve a good result in this Dakar.”

Navarro moved up to T1 in Morocco, driving a Toyota Hilux prepared by FN Speed Team. He set the fastest time in the opening stage among T1.1 entries, though he was relegated to a T1 overall finish of twenty-sixth due to a broken driveshaft and punctured tyres. Hours after the final stage, he hopped into the Mini piloted by Krzysztof Hołowczyc for the Next Gen Tryouts.

During the rally, he had been open about how staggering the performance gap between T1.1 and T1+ is, remarking that he had a “touch of reality” when Al-Attiyah overtook him in a Hilux T1+. T1+ cars are significantly faster and larger than their T1.1 counterparts.

He previously competed T4, where he won the 2022 Andalucía Rally before making his Dakar Rally début the following year. Navarro quickly impressed at Dakar as he finished runner-up in Stage #1 to fellow teenager Eryk Goczał before ultimately placing ninth in class. He followed with a third at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge.