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NGK SPARK PLUG to partner with the X-raid race team for 2022 Dakar Rally

NGK SPARK PLUG, the world’s leading ignition and sensor specialist, is excited to announce its new role as technical partner to the X-raid motorsport team for the upcoming 2022 Dakar Rally. The news marks another milestone in the company’s rich and storied racing history.

Based in Trebur, Germany, X-raid is a private motorsport team that specialises in cross-country rallies. Founded in 2002, the team has enjoyed unprecedented success, winning 11 FIA World Cups for Cross-Country Rallies, three FIA World Cups for Cross-Country Bajas as well as five Dakar Rallies, the last of which was in 2021. X-raid, in addition, has made its name by developing and building off-road rally vehicles for competition as well as for both sale and rent. These include classics such as the MINI JCW Buggy, the MINI JCW Rally and the MINI ALL4 Racing.

For the 2022 Dakar Rally, X-raid will be gunning for its third consecutive victory in the car category and will be fielding three teams: the ‘X-raid MINI JCW Team’ (which will consist of Sebastian Halpern [driver] and Ronnie Graue [navigator]), the ‘Orlen X-raid Team’ (which will consist of Kuba Przygonski [driver] and Timo Gottschalk [navigator]) and the ‘Primax X-raid Team’ (which will consist of Laia Sanz [driver] and Maurizio Gerini [navigator]).

“We are delighted to be teaming up with the X-raid team for the 2022 Dakar Rally,” says Frank Massia, Director Marketing Aftermarket EMEA NGK SPARK PLUG EUROPE GmbH. “The Dakar Rally is one of motorsport’s most iconic and formidable endurance races. Our company has a long history in motorsport, which due to its extreme conditions, has provided us with the perfect testing ground to constantly develop our high performance technology.”

The ‘Dakar’ is widely considered to be the world’s most difficult rally. In the car category, a driver and a navigator work together to guide the vehicle across uncompromising terrain in as quick a time as possible. To make things more difficult, however, each team is unaware of the stage route prior to the start of each race. The route, moreover, is provided in a roadbook, which is distributed only 15 minutes before each stage, and is the sole source of information provided to the crew. This brings both driving and navigation skills to the fore. In spite of the challenging sand dunes and the lack of pre-race time to study the race route, all of the X-raid teams will be able to rely on premium NGK ignition technology.

First staged in 1978, the Dakar Rally is an annual off-road endurance event that has been held in a range of locations throughout Europe, Africa, South America and the Middle East. Featuring five competitive classes (motorcycles, quads, the cars class [ranging from buggies to small SUVs], UTVs, and trucks class), the 2022 ‘Dakar’ will be held in Saudi Arabia between 1-14 January 2022.