Red Bull Desert Wings squad set for strong Dakar Rally challenge

Red Bull Desert Wings squad set for strong Dakar Rally challenge

Red Bull Desert Wings, Cyril Despres
photo: Kin Marcin/Red Bull Content Pool

The Red Bull Desert Wings squad for the 2019 Dakar Rally is the strongest one yet. The world’s best drivers and riders look to tame the world’s toughest rally raid race. It will take place in South America with Peru staging it on its own. That is the first time since its inception in 1978 that the rally will be hosted by a single country. The Red Bull Desert Wings squad boast 30 previous wins at the start line in Lima on January 6 ahead of a tricky route packed full of testing sand dunes. Defending car champion Carlos Sainz is joined by 13-time Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres in the all-new X-raid MINI JCW Team with two-time winner Nasser Al-Attiyah and 2009 victor Giniel de Villers both driving a Toyota Hilux.

Sainz, 56, said: “We’re preparing ourselves for tough days at the rally. Always at the Dakar, you need to be ready for everything at all times and I think this will be especially true in Peru.”

Elsewhere, nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb competes in a Peugeot 3008DKR as a Red Bull privateer

Meanwhile, recently crowned FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup winner Kuba Przygoński will be eager to impress in a MINI John Cooper Works Rally car for ORLEN X-Raid Team.

Former bike champions Matthias Walkner, Sam Sunderland and Toby Price are all back. They will go alongside top female rider Laia Sanz. Also at the race will be exciting young talent Luciano Benavides as the Red Bull KTM Factory Teamlook to extend an amazing 17 consecutive Dakar titles.

Price, 31, declared: “We always know that the Dakar organisers are going to push us to the limit. I’m just happy to have a great team in my corner, doing everything they can to help us bring home the result we want.”

They will not have things all their own way, though, as Anastasia Nifontova, CS Santosh and Stefan Svitko, along with brothers Daniel and Walter Nosiglia Jaeger, will be keen to trouble the leaders.

Team Kamaz Master have netted eight truck victories since the rally moved to South America 10 years ago

Eduard Nikolaev seeks to defend his title from Ayrat Mardeev, Dmitry Sotnikov and Andrey Karginov.

Finally, 2018 quad winner Ignacio Casale, 31, revealed: “After winning the quad race twice, in 2014 and 2018, I received the offer from Yamaha to compete in the UTV category. This has given me lots of new motivation for the next edition of the Dakar.”