Sergio Perez Seeks Answers to Car Handling Woes in Dakar Rally

    (Dakar Rally News) – Sergio Perez, the struggling Red Bull driver in the 2024 Dakar Rally, believes he is starting to find solutions to his car handling issues as the competition heats up.

    While Perez may not be able to keep up with his teammate and defending champion, Nasser Al-Attiyah, the gaps in recent qualifying stages and stages have been well beyond the Mexican veteran’s true pace. However, Perez is determined to close the gap, as other top contenders like Nasser Al-Attiyah and Sebastien Loeb are starting to gain ground.

    Perez’s struggles are not new, as he went through a similar rough patch this time last year before rallying towards the end of the 2023 Dakar campaign. Just like last year, when Perez secured his maiden Dakar victory in Miami, the last event where he seemed at ease in the Red Bull.

    “I think I have understood a lot of things that happened over the weekend during the race,” Perez said after finishing a minute behind winner Al-Attiyah, having beaten the midfield Toyota and Prodrive entries to eighth.

    However, as the Dakar Rally encountered a tougher run of challenging terrains that exposed the RB20’s main weakness, Perez was unable to adapt as well as his teammate, finishing 11th, 16th, and 16th across the Namibia, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia stages.

    The recent Moroccan rally, the final round before the Dakar, was a return to form for Perez and Red Bull on a more benign circuit, but the 34-year-old still only qualified eighth, which became 11th on the grid after a lingering penalty.

    Perez believes the Moroccan event has given him enough answers to turn things around and to explain why he struggled so much to keep his car balanced across different terrain and speeds, which is the holy grail of this generation of Dakar cars.

    “We basically explored the car from stage to stage, more than the entire testing probably. We have never swung around so many things on set-up,” he added.

    “We were a bit desperate to try and find a balance, so we need to review all of that, but I see the light out of the tunnel.”

    The Dakar Rally, which kicks off in early January, offers Perez a chance to quickly move on and accelerate his learning, although it can also snowball in a negative way with limited time for practice or analysis.

    “It is the best [thing] you can have, because you take this experience as a learning curve and run to the next one,” he said bullishly.

    “There will be other challenges, it is a long season ahead. It is important to be able to keep our head down.”

    ๐Ÿ”— Source