Leo Larrauri plans Dakar return in 2024

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Credit: South Racing

While it no longer takes place in his native Argentina, Leonel “Leo” Larrauri is looking to head back to the Dakar Rally in 2024. In a Tuesday interview with Carburando Radio at the ExpoAgro trade show in San Nicolás, Larrauri stated his intention to run the rally for the first time since 2018. To prepare himself for the race, he plans to enter the Desafío Ruta 40 in August.

“I have a lot of desire to return to the Dakar to run it again,” said the 46-year-old. “I really got excited last year and I set myself the goal that in 2024 I wanted to be racing in Arabia. In the idea of mine to return to Dakar, the World Cup’s Ruta 40 came up, which was great because it will allow me to have a date to gain experience and test. It will be the last step to return to Dakar.

“We still have not decided if we will race in T3 or T4, but the idea is to do the Ruta 40 here to gain experience again. I have been away from the discipline for so many years. It really was a beautiful experience. The category has continued to grow, it is becoming more and more competitive, and obviously my expectations are very low. In reality, my goal is to be competitive again, and finishing Dakar or the Ruta 40 is already a lot.”

Larrauri is primarily a touring car racer, recently finishing twenty-third in the 2022 Turismo Nacional Class 3 standings. He has competed in the category since 2001, placing runner-up in the 2002 championship and third in 2004 and 2017. In 2010, he was second in the TC2000 Championship’s Private Pilots Cup for privateer competitors.

While used to pavement competition, Larrauri began dabbling in rally raid with the 2016 Desafío Ruta 40, which inspired him to enter the 2018 Dakar Rally. Driving a Can-Am Maverick for South Racing with Fernando Imperatrice as co-driver, he finished sixth in the UTV category and scored a home soil victory in the final stage.

Although Larrauri expects to race a UTV again, the class has since been split into T3 and T4. T3, also known as Light Prototype, is for UTVs specifically designed for racing while T4, or just SSVs, are production models. South Racing fields Can-Am Mavericks in both divisions.

The Desafío Ruta 40, scheduled to run from 26 August to 8 September, is the fourth and penultimate leg of the World Rally-Raid Championship.

Larrauri is the nephew of Oscar Larrauri, who was a regular of the World Sportscar Championship and competed in Formula One in 1988 and 1989.

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