LEGENDARY motorsport constructors, Prodrive, has established a new joint venture with Bahraini sovereign wealth fund, Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding, to develop a Dakar Rally challenger from 2021.
According to the British-based company, the new entity, Prodrive International, will develop a new rally raid vehicle specifically to compete in the top level T1 prototype class of the Dakar Rally in 2021.
Prodrive International will also be contracted to run a pair of the upcoming rally cars annually, as well as produce additional customer cars along with performance parts for clients.
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While Prodrive made its name in the World Rally Championship, the company’s historical link to the Middle East can be traced as far back as its very beginning, where the team won its first ever event, the Qatar International Rally, which was the first round of the inaugural FIA Middle East Rally Championship.
The team would go on to establish its name with its 19-year association with Subaru in rallying, giving the Japanese company three consecutive manufacturers’ titles, it has also won five Le Mans titles and seven Middle East Rally Championships.
“It has been a long-held ambition of mine and Prodrive to compete in the Dakar Rally. To be able to do so in Saudi Arabia makes the prospect even more special, as the Middle East is where Prodrive started its motorsport journey in 1984,” said David Richards, Prodrive’s founder and chairman. “Dakar is a new and challenging project for Prodrive, but one that I and the whole team in Banbury are relishing.”
The recently concluded 2020 Dakar Rally, which kicked off in Jeddah and finished in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was the first time the rally was held in the Arabian Peninsula, with Bahrain involved as one of the big sponsors of the winning X-Raid MINI JCW buggy.