To account for the wide disparity among vehicles produced over almost three decades, the Dakar Classic regulations have adapted to the technical requirements and expectations of the many crews that invest their own resources to discover the world of the Dakar. However, the race will stay true to the “retro” spirit that made the first two editions a hit. The 1983 Dakar champion, Jacky Ickx, is joining the event as its illustrious ambassador.
Jacky ickx comes back for the classic
The second edition of the Dakar Classic laid bare the big differences in performance between older cars and models from the late 1990s. An additional speed group, “H0”, has therefore been introduced with lower average speeds tailored to cars with less raw power. Two new challenges have also been created to encourage the Dakar Classic crews to follow the example of the pioneers.
The “Authentic Co-driver Challenge” is for vehicles entering the race without modern consistency instruments, who will be competing, as a general rule, with no more than a stopwatch to calculate their pace.
The “Iconic Classic Club” classification, meanwhile, will be reserved for original vehicles that physically took part in the Dakar in the 20th century, i.e. no replicas. About ten crews have signed up for this one.
A “Classic” future
Jacky Ickx will find it difficult not to feel a twinge of nostalgia when he comes across Giuseppe Pozzi in the bivouac, as the Italian will be driving a Mercedes 280 GE identical to the one Ickx drove to victory on the banks of Lac Rose in 1983, with Claude Brasseur as his co-driver. The Belgian driver, one of the most successful competitors in the history of motor sports, was already captivated by the atmosphere around the Dakar Classic cars and trucks when he visited the race last year. The charm worked and Ickx agreed to become the ambassador of all these crews, which he intends to greet and root for throughout the 2023 edition. A team manager like no other!
Two Marathons stages
The African editions of the Dakar used to pit the competitors against longer courses than the modern version of the rally, as well as more frequent marathon stages, held over two days. This time round, the Dakar Classic will diverge from the main field of the race on two occasions: in the evening of stage 10, in a bivouac reserved for the Dakar Classic, and again at the end of stage 12. Furthermore, their trek will come to an end the next day, after stage 13, in which they will take the coastal road that will also wrap up the main race 24 hours later
King of the dunes
The Dakar Classic standings are mainly about consistency, but there are also navigation sectors with the potential to extract a heavy price from the competitors (as a reminder, the winners of the race are the crew with the fewest points). A third parameter will be introduced this year, namely, dune tests that will reward drivers with solid dune-jumping skills. Once again, the competitors would do well to avoid any blunders that add a lot of points to their counter and push them down the standings.