Honda has announced that it will field a factory entry in the upcoming 2013 Dakar Rally, which starts January 2013 and goes through Peru, Argentina, and Chile. Enlisting four riders to ride on the yet to be released HRC adventure racer, the return of HRC factory team to The Dakar is a boon for the series, which has been dominated by KTM in recent years.
Coming into the series with a pedigree of winning in the 1980’s, HRC hopes that Portuguese rider Helder Rodrigues, who came in third in the 2012 Dakar Rally, will be able to contend with KTM’s factory-backed efforts for Marc Coma and Cyril Despres.
Team HRC’s other riders are Brazilian Felipe Zanol, Brit Sam Sunderland, and Argentinian Javier Pizzolito. All four riders will be on a prototype race bike that is being developed by Honda’s Research & Development specifically for The Dakar, basing the model off the Honda CRF450X.
“The Dakar requires competitors to cover several hundred kilometers per day for more than two weeks,” commented Tetsuo Suzuki, President of Honda Racing Corporation. “It needs a totally different type of vehicle from events such as motocross, trials and road races. Honda has put a great deal of effort into designing and building a powerful and winning machine. We are aiming for the championship from this first year.”