Only two riders are from Austria, three more have a German passport. Switzerland is not represented at the 44th edition of the toughest rally in the world.
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KTM Factory - Matthias Walkner
The list is headed by Red Bull KTM works driver Matthias Walkner. The Kuchler won the Dakar in 2018 and, as the current cross-country rallies world champion, is tackling his eighth Dakar. The 35-year-old is in top form and is one of the closest favorites.
Also from Austria is Wolfgang Payr, who will compete in the Dakar for the first time in 2022 and thus fulfill a dream. "I'm not a very good rider - I started way too late," said Payr. “When I started driving ten years ago, the Dakar seemed completely out of reach. Then I gradually developed my skills. First enduro races, then the Romaniacs and finally the Africa Eco rally. Step by step the vision of driving the Dakar took shape in my head. "
The three starters from Germany are also rookies in the Dakar Rally. Mike Wiedemann joined the Dutch BAS Dakar Team for his debut. The 23-year-old, who lives in Endingen am Kaiserstuhl, travels to the 44th edition of the Dakar after a hand operation in November with some training deficit. Wiedemann finished this year's Rally Morocco in a strong eleventh place!
"You grow with your tasks," emphasized Wiedemann. «For 3 years now I have been preparing intensively for my biggest goal - participation in the Dakar Rally - with rallies in Morocco, training sessions in Spain and intensive physical workouts! I am firmly convinced that I gave everything to finish - I am ready. "
Stefan & Thomas Preuss
Stephan and Thomas Preuss will come to Dakar 2022 with reinforcements - they are brothers. The two Alstertaler have been involved in rallying for many years and have already driven in Abu-Dhabi, among other places. They start in the Reality Beats Fiction team ... which means a lot.