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NGK SPARK PLUG renews partnership with X-raid race team for the 2023 Dakar

A motorsport Mini JCW Buggy jumping through the air on a sunny, cloudless day offroad, in the back mindwills are visible
NGK SPARK PLUG is proud to announce the renewal of its role as technical partner and sponsor to the X-raid motorsport team for the upcoming 2023 Dakar Rally. The news once again confirms the world’s leading ignition and sensor specialist’s commitment to participating at several elite levels of motorsport.

Founded in 2002, the Trebur, Germany-based X-raid 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 six Dakar Rallies, the last of which was in 2021. In addition, X-raid 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 2023 Dakar Rally, the X-raid team will be entering four teams, two of which will be competing in the MINI JCW Rally (T1+) all-wheel race, with the two remaining teams competing in the MINI JCW Buggy race. The MINI JCW Rally T1+ teams consist of: Jakub ‘Kuba’ Przygonski [driver] and Armand Monleón [co-driver] & Sebastian Halpern [driver] and Ronnie Graue [co-driver]. The MINI JCW Buggy race teams consist of: Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi [driver] and to be confirmed [co-driver] & Denis Krotov [driver] and Konstantin Zhiltsov [co-driver].

X-raid’s emphasis on sustainability, moreover, will be increasingly evident at the 2023 event. This is demonstrated by the use of second-generation HVO fuel in the T1+ category, a biodiesel that is made from sources such as used vegetable fats and plastic bottles. As a result, the fuel does not compete with food production like HVO1. Furthermore, the engine power in the near future will be regulated electronically, instead of with an air restrictor. Both of these actions will ultimately result in enormous CO2 savings.

“We are very happy to be teaming up with the X-raid team for the second year in a row at the 2023 Dakar Rally,” says Frank Massia, Director Marketing Aftermarket EMEA NGK SPARK PLUG EUROPE GmbH. “As one of motorsport’s classic and most formidable endurance races, the Dakar Rally lives up to the rich tradition of motorsport which our company has always been involved in. Together with the X-raid team, we are looking forward to contributing to the increased performance and sustainability of the vehicles competing at the event.”

The 45th edition of the Dakar Rally looks set to be the toughest one yet and will feature 14 different stages (two more than in 2022). In addition, 70 percent of the racetracks will be new. Beginning on the shores of the Red Sea and finishing on the opposite side of the Arabian Peninsula 18 days later, the coast-to-coast race will encompass almost 5.000 kilometres of Saudi Arabia.

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 2023 ‘Dakar’ will take place in Saudi Arabia between 31 December 2022 and 15 January 2023.


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