DakarWorld Rally-Raid Championship

Manuel Andujar skipping Morocco and Dakar 2025, open to SSV

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Credit: Paulo Maria/ASO

Manuel Andújar will not defend his Dakar Rally Quad win in 2025, though it’s not like he had a choice as the Amaury Sport Organisation has dropped the category. While he told Campeones that he is open to switching to the SSV class in the future, there is not enough time to learn and prepare for the 2025 edition.

“After seven years, for the first time, I’m not going to race the Dakar,” Andújar proclaimed to Campeones.

In January, Andújar won three stages en route to the Dakar overall Quad victory, his second after 2021. However, declining manufacturer support prompted the ASO to tighten the eligibility criteria, resulting in a paltry ten competitors. The ASO finally opted to axe the class in April shortly before the World Rally-Raid Championship‘s BP Ultimate Rally-Raid in Portugal.

Unsurprisingly, the decision proved unpopular among Quad riders. Andújar stated the ASO’s restrictive policies meant the class was doomed to an undeservingly undignified demise and lobbied to the FIM to intervene. Juraj Varga, who finished third at Dakar, withdrew from Portugal out of protest.

“I started racing this event at the age of 20, a race that taught me many values as a person and a racer including discipline, honour, resilience, true friendship, teamwork, and much more. This race affected me so much that I even tattooed it on my skin,” Andújar wrote. “I never imagined that MONEY and the WHIMS of one person could outweigh these learned values.”

Although he plans to run the W2RC’s upcoming Desafío Ruta 40 in his native Argentina, he will not enter the season-ending Rallye du Maroc in October. Morocco is often used by teams to prepare for the Dakar, which is pointless for Quad riders even if there are championship implications. Andújar is currently the points leader after three rounds and the defending DR 40 victor.

The SSV class is a popular avenue for Quad riders well before the ASO’s ruling, with former Dakar winners Josef Macháček, Ignacio Casale, and Sergei Kariakin among those who made the switch. Pablo Copetti and Rodolfo Guillioli have also become SSV competitors.

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