2024 Dakar Rally: Last-minute navigator changes inbound

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Credit: Gigi Soldano/DPPI

As teams put the finishing touches on their preparations for the 2024 Dakar Rally and Dakar Classic, some are already having to make changes from what they initially planned such as replacing their co-drivers. Most notably, Marc Solà Terradellas will be the new navigator for Ricardo Ramilo in the #435 SSV.

Solà replaces Arnau Lledó, who explained he was yanked by decision of Scuderia Ramilo Rodamoto. The former was originally hoping to race the 2024 Dakar with Fidel Castillo as part of the student-run Ahúja Racing, though he found another driver only for those plans to fall through in November. Solà was Carlos Checa’s navigator for the 2023 edition, and they finished twenty-third in class overall.

“Unfortunately, by the team’s decision, I must inform you that I won’t be able to participate in Dakar 2024,” Lledó posted. “It’s tough news to digest after so much effort and sacrifice over the past few months. I came close to my big dream, but I am determined to keep fighting until I achieve it.”

The Dakar Classic sees two last-minute navigator swaps as Twan Vollenbregt makes his Dakar début in the #738 Mitsubishi Pajero of Jaap Bolk. Marcel van Wort was originally scheduled to navigate but suffered an injury that forced Bolk to look for a replacement.

“First of all, I wish my navigator Marcel van Wort the best of luck with his recovery. And now a young talent who will strengthen our team,” wrote Bolk. “Twan Vollenbregt will be the lucky one, he is young and has already done a number of rallies. We are both looking forward to it, so we are going to embark on the adventure, together with our mechanics René van Velthoven and Luc Grootscholten we will make something beautiful out of it and certainly enjoy the adventure.”

Also in the Classic, #703 driver Dirk van Rompuy will be without his copilot Christiaan Michel Goris for personal reasons. Luis Barbero Garcia will take over the right-side seat of the Toyota HDJ80 of TH-Trucks Team, moving over from the #711 of Asier Duarte Rodríguez. Raquel Arranz takes over as Duarte’s navigator.

“Some trains only pass once in a lifetime… and this one had to be boarded,” began a post by Arranz. “The best Christmas gift of my life: being a co-pilot in the Dakar Classic alongside @asierduarte. Only one week to prepare everything… a lot of nerves, a lot of excitement, a lot of emotion. I can only say that I will do my best!!!!”

The 2024 Dakar Rally and Classic begin on 5 January.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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