Dakar Rally: Former Quad Champion Andújar Laments Class Elimination, Considers SSV Switch

    In a major shakeup for the Dakar Rally, the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) has decided to drop the Quad category from the 2025 edition of the iconic off-road event. This decision has hit hard for Manuel Andújar, the reigning Dakar Quad champion, who now faces an uncertain future in the race he has competed in for the past seven years.

    “After seven years, for the first time, I’m not going to race the Dakar,” Andújar lamented to Campeones. The Argentinian rider had secured back-to-back Quad victories in 2021 and 2024, demonstrating his dominance in the category. However, the ASO’s tightening of the eligibility criteria, leading to a dwindling field of just ten competitors, has ultimately resulted in the class being axed.

    Andújar, who had even tattooed the Dakar on his skin to commemorate the event’s significance in his life, expressed his disappointment with the decision.

    “I never imagined that MONEY and the WHIMS of one person could outweigh the values I learned from this race, including discipline, honour, resilience, true friendship, and teamwork,” he wrote.

    The former champion has explored the possibility of switching to the SSV (Side-by-Side) class, a popular choice for former Quad riders. However, with the 2025 Dakar just around the corner, Andújar admits that there is not enough time for him to learn and properly prepare for the transition.

    While he plans to compete in the upcoming Desafío Ruta 40 event in his native Argentina as part of the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC), Andújar has decided to skip the season-ending Rallye du Maroc in October, as it is often used by teams to prepare for the Dakar.

    The elimination of the Quad category has drawn widespread criticism from within the off-road racing community. Juraj Varga, who finished third in the 2024 Dakar Quad class, even went as far as withdrawing from the recent BP Ultimate Rally-Raid in Portugal as a form of protest.

    As the Dakar Rally continues to evolve, the loss of the Quad category represents a significant shift in the event’s landscape. While Andújar’s future remains uncertain, his passion for the Dakar and his unwavering commitment to the values it represents will undoubtedly continue to inspire the next generation of off-road racers.

    🔗 Source