World Rally-Raid Championship

Funding woes prevent Sara Price from racing rest of W2RC, to return in Morocco

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Credit: Julien Delfosse/DPPI

Sara Price will have to wait a little longer before she gets another crack at the World Rally-Raid Championship. Rally Raid Spirit told The Checkered Flag Tuesday that after speaking with Price, she will not enter the upcoming BP Ultimate Rally-Raid due to a lack of sponsorship. Price confirmed the report on Wednesday, explaining she will also not race the penultimate Desafío Ruta 40 in June but will return for the season-ending Rallye du Maroc in October, the latter of which will be used to prepare for the 2025 Dakar Rally.

“We had to make a decision to continue the championship or the next race while I was basically at Dakar,” began Price. “The deadline for the entry was within the next week and it was a really tight turnaround and after Dakar I didn’t know where I would be sitting or standing financially or with sponsors, or potentially finding that title sponsor.

“I put in everything I had into Dakar, so I wasn’t in the position to keep it going, to do the whole championship, so we decided we are going to sit out the World Championship and focus on Morocco and getting back to Dakar in 2025 and train in the meantime and be as prepared as possible and recollect and get our partners on board and see what we can come up with to make it all happen again.

“Bummer, but at the same time, we are going to use this time to make the most out of it. It’s just not financially the smartest thing for us at this moment. Wish it was, wish I had millions of dollars to spend and go racing and trust me, if I had it I would.”

Price is seen as one of the top rising stars in rally raid, evidenced from her W2RC début when she won the National Car/UTV class at the 2023 Sonora Rally to clinch free registration for the 2024 Dakar Rally. To prepare for Dakar, she entered the 2023 season-ending Rallye du Maroc and made an impact from the start as she won two stages and finished second in the SSV class.

At Dakar, she vied for an SSV podium spot before breaking through by winning her class in Stage #10, becoming the third woman to win a Dakar stage. Price finished fourth overall in SSV and second among points-eligible drivers.

Despite being eligible for the W2RC, however, she skipped the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. She and many of her fellow American competitors, including boyfriend and Dakar bike winner Ricky Brabec, opted to enter the Mint 400 back home instead, finishing twelfth in the UTV Pro class after being ordered to move from the UTV Stock category for noncompliant parts (a trend that eventually sparked controversy).

While most W2RC competitors who skipped Abu Dhabi have their reasons to do so, Price’s also comes down to not having sufficient backing. Although she is an ambassador for Can-Am and drives for their rally raid factory team South Racing, it is not enough to regularly cover the costs of racing internationally. Brabec has also openly lamented the lack of rally opportunities for Americans due to low factory support.

“I had amazing partners in my corner, but it also required a tremendous amount of funding that maybe partners couldn’t completely cover for me, especially the first year,” Price recalled last Saturday during the Mint 400 Unlimited race. “I have to give a big shout out to (Dakar tyre supplier) BFGoodrich. They were my first big sponsor that came on and really believed in me and gave me that step to actually make this happen because I still funded half of it, and it was all my money that I worked hard over my lifetime to have, and I put towards it to take that risk on myself.”

UPDATE (20 March): Price has released a statement confirming her absence. The article has been updated to include her comments.

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