Éric Abel has been involved with the Dakar Rally since 2019, but his streak comes to an end in 2024 as he and his Team Los Amigos will not take part. He would have competed in a Can-Am Maverick in the SSV (formerly T4) category with Christian Manez as co-driver.
Abel finished thirteenth overall in the T4 category at the 2023 edition with Serge Gounon as his navigator, continuing a trend of strong efforts that included an eighth in 2022. While Manez sat out 2023 due to the physical demands, Abel planned to have him back for 2024; he and Manez are best friends who started racing together in 2010.
His team is supported by BBR Motorsport, who is fielding a pair of MCE-5 Taurus T3 Max cars in the Challenger (T3) class for Marcelo Gastaldi and Gunter Hinkelmann as well as Mavericks for Claude Fournier and Rodrigo Varela in SSV at the 2024 Dakar.
“It was with a little pinch of the heart that this decision had to be made, but life sometimes imposes priorities,” said Abel. “2023 did not allow me to plan and prepare myself properly for this tough Dakar challenge. Sometimes, you have to be clear-sighted and make the right decisions. My BBR Motorsport team has always put us in the best conditions to perform and represent our department and the philanthropic actions that we sponsor as best as possible, but the planets did not align this year. This decision was all the more difficult to make when thinking of our associations which still need visibility and fundraising, but we have not forgotten them and will come back quickly to highlight them again.”
Outside of racing, he is an osteopath who has donated funding from his Dakar sponsors to charity. For the 2023 race, he supported foundations like the European Leukodystrophies Association, Onco Parcours to help women with gynecological cancer, Joajoie for sick children, Dans les yeux de Loli to increase research into Rett syndrome, and the Vaincre la Mucoviscidose for cystic fibrosis research.
The 2024 Dakar Rally will start on 5 January.