In January 2020; the race opened a new chapter in its illustrious history with a new-look event in the Saudi Arabian desert. It was a move that presented Dakar with a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate pioneering spirit in uncharted territory, while at the same time showcasing the outstanding versatility and performance of BF Goodrich tire
Over the course of the race, Dakar participants tackle a variety of landscapes, from canyons and dunes, to mountains, wadis and oases. The 2021 rally’s itinerary, which initially hugs the coast, is particularly varied, in terms of the landscapes it visits, with a cocktail of soft ground, alternating with dunes and faster sections littered with sharp stones.
In order to cover all the different types of terrain, cross-country rally tires must make no compromises and provide a unique cocktail of grip, traction, directional stability, resilience and resistance to wear. Such a balance is clearly hard to strike, but the engineers in charge of the development of our cross-country rally tires have successfully pulled off their mission.
The route of the second Dakar to take place in the Middle East is radically different to that of the 2020 event, with all-new stages and a marathon leg to spice up the second week. The rally starts on January 3 in Jeddah, on the shores of the Red Sea. Competitors then hug the coast for several hundred kilometers before striking east towards Al-Jawf and, from there, Ha’il which is situated on the former trade route from the Red Sea to Mesopotamia. After a day of rest there on January 9, the trail heads southwest and concludes with a broad westward loop ahead of the finish in New Jeddah on January 15.
As in 2020, it is expected that some 2,000 tires will be fitted and/or removed by BFGoodrich® in the course of the 2021 Dakar. Depending on the class they are competing in and the type of car they drive, crews use between 20 and 50 tires over the 12-day marathon.
SOFT ON THE OUTSIDE, TOUGH ON THE INSIDE
The BFGoodrich® All Terrain T/A KDR2+’s tread pattern was carefully conceived with the emphasis on its ability to clear sand when dri- ving over dunes. To achieve this, its design is particularly open, most notably along the shoulders. This allows the tire to generate superior traction, while reducing the risk of getting stuck on soft ground. The combination of this tread design and the soft compound is ideal for tackling the Dakar’s dunes with complete peace of mind. Meanwhile, the resilient construction of the BFGoodrich® All Terrain T/A KDR2+ provides the strength needed for punishing terrain and faster sections alike. Factor in the availability of both soft and medium compounds, and this combination ensures excellent handling and resistance against knocks, while simultaneously guaranteeing outstanding grip, traction and directional stability.
The BFGoodrich® KM3 is the fifth generation of the first off-road radial tire, which was launched back in 1980. Available to the general public, it was developed like all BFGoodrich® tires with the benefit of experience acquired in the field. In the course of 2021, several new sizes will be added to the range to cover all the market’s demands. At home on sand and mud alike, and designed to both scale the steepest slopes and cope effectively with dunes, its breeding makes it the perfect companion for amateur competitors.