WorldSBK Champion Carlos Checa set to tackle gruelling Dakar Rally

2011 WorldSBK Champion and MotoGP race winner Carlos Checa will attempt to finish the 2022 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia... on four wheels!

Carlos Checa, Dakar Rally, Team MD Rallye Sport

WorldSBK Champion and MotoGP race winner Carlos Checa has announced he will attempt to add another illustrious accolade to his repertoire when he takes to the start of the gruelling Dakar Rally.

The Spaniard is the latest in a line of high-profile racers to give the iconic yet arduous rally-raid endurance a crack, following on from the likes of countryman and double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, plus a host of famed WRC drivers including Carlos Sainz and Sebastien Loeb.

While biking stars have previously crossed over to attempt Dakar success, Checa will also be switching disciplines with an entry into the four-wheel class driving the Team MD Rallye Sport buggy over the Saudi dunes.

The event has taken on numerous guises since its original format of racing between Paris to the Senegalese capital of Dakar, via the Sahara, with a move to South America preceding its current home in Saudi Arabia.

Wearing his famed #7 plate, Checa - who will team up with co-drive Ferran Marco - says it is a challenge he has long wanted to take.

“I will take part in the next edition of the race, driving a Buggy Optimues with French team MD Rallye Sport. My navigator will be the experienced Ferran Marco. I’d been wanting to do the Dakar for a long time and finally everything’s come together, and I can take on this significant challenge.”

Considered one of the toughest motorsport events on the planet, the 2022 edition of the Dakar Rally will begin on 2 January and run until 14 January.

Checa - the last rider representing Ducati to win the WorldSBK Championship, in 2011 on the semi-privateer Althea 1098R - isn’t the only high-profile motorcycle racer with his eye on the Dakar Rally.

KTM MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci says he is also considering entering the 2023 event with the Austrian manufacturer after being frozen out of its Tech 3 MotoGP line-up for 2022. However, he recently revealed he is also considering a switch to MotoAmerica with Ducati in the seat previously held by Loris Baz.