January 13, 2024 – American racer Sara Price has finished the first half of the 2024 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia in a fortunate and well-earned position among the dozens of SSV (formerly T4) class competitors. Price and navigator Jeremy Gray had consistently good results during the initial six days of racing and kept the car in excellent shape and ready for the challenges ahead in the second and final six-day stretch of the 2024 Dakar Rally.
The early stages of the 2024 Dakar Rally could be accurately described as intimidating. Race director David Castera had warned competitors. “The challenge will be just as daunting as last January.” Castera promised a course with very tough early stages and endless stretches of high dunes where navigation will be as much a part of success as are the technical challenges of crossing them. The first half of the 2024 Dakar course delivered on Castera’s promise.
Price Scores Big
Despite the incredibly tough rally course, Price set a quick but careful pace and the car had no major mechanical issues during the extremely tough first six stages of the 2024 Dakar Rally. The plan from the beginning had been to make sure, as Price put it, “we remain as competitive as possible, and get to the half-way point for the rest day in Riyadh without beating up the car too much.”
The team’s driving strategy paid off and has landed the #419 South Racing Can-Am Maverick X3 in a good overall position among the highly competitive SSV UTV class. In her first Dakar Rally, Price has already scored a third-in-class SSV (formerly T4) podium for Stage 1 and consistently high finishes among the top 10 spots in the class over the first six stages of the 12-stage 2024 Dakar Rally. Price and navigator Gray have earned an enviable position for any team competing in their very first Dakar Rally.
Obstacles in the team’s road to success began with the very first stage. Price described the terrain of the premiere stage of the 2024 Dakar Rally “It was full of rocks. Big rocks. Rocks were hiding in the sand. There were pieces of volcanic rock that were like knives.”
The second stage was “Very fast and a clean run,” according to Sara. Things got a little rougher on the third day, which Sara described as “a long day with lots of dust that made it hard to see ahead sometimes. We made a few mistakes but kept the car together.” The third stage reminded Sara “of the tough terrain in the Baja 500, with giant sand dunes added.”
The first half of the 2024 Dakar Rally included many days of challenging rally stage courses that pushed competitors and machines to their limits. One of these was a unique two-day stage. The 48 Hour Chrono Stage (Stage 6) of the rally featured a new 48-hour stage format held in the Empty Quarter. Seven bivouacs were strung along the 903 kilometer (appro. 560 miles) stage running through this expansive and desolate two-day section in the heart of Saudi Arabia.
Price’s run through the two-day 48 Hour Chrono was, “an amazing adventure, we were in the largest sand dunes I’ve ever seen. We did neadly 600 miles in gigantic sand dunes. Our camp was mid-stage, and we spent the night camped next to the car. We had a clean run with no big issues, and kept the car in good shape. That was our goal. Get to rest day with no major problems.”
Price said, “Now we are in a really good spot. Going into to next week we’re going to stick with our current strategy. Some others have said they’re going to kick it up, but for now, I think being consistent, keeping the car in good shape, and taking it one day at a time is our plan. The experience we’ve gained during these first six stages has helped set us up for whatever may lay ahead in the second half of the Dakar.”
The rest day in Riyadh provides teams a chance to repair cars if needed. For drivers and navigators, it’s downtime to recharge themselves before beginning the seventh stage of racing on January 13. The 12th and final Stage of the 2024 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia will finish at Yanbu on January 19, 2024.
To best follow Sara Price’s first Dakar Rally experience, check out SaraPriceMX.com
About Sara Price
Owner of SP Motorsports, Sara Price began racing dirt bikes at the age of eight and collected 19 amateur titles and medaled in Women’s Super X at the 2010 X-Games. She holds the record as the most winning female amateur to date. Named the 2016 Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame Rising Star, Sara Price’s racing career started in motocross, then went on to Monster Energy Kawasaki as the first factory-supported female racer.
In 2012 Price switched to four wheels and started racing UTVs competing in the WORCS series and the Lucas Oil Regional Short Course Series. Price became the first American UTV team driver to compete in the Rallye Aïcha Des Gazelles in Morocco, and went on to finish the Terracross Championship undefeated to take the Women’s Championship that same year. In 2016, Price raced six events in the Stadium SUPER Truck Series and became the first woman ever to lead laps in that championship.
Price went on to compete with RPM Offroad in a Trophy Truck Spec in the SCORE International Desert Series. In 2019, Price became the first woman to win the SCORE International Trophy Truck Spec Championship, also notably as an IronWoman in the entire series. In 2021 Sara signed on to the Chip Ganassi Racing team for Extreme-E, the global electric racing program, adding an Extreme E win to her resume. Major wins in 2023 piloting her Can-Am Maverick X3 include the Sonora Rally, Mint 400, and SCORE Baja 500. When she isn’t racing, Price works as a stunt professional a part of the SAG-AFTRA Union, performing on motorcycles and in other vehicles and as a stunt performer for television and films seen worldwide.
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