Martin Macik Jr. forgoing Abu Dhabi, returning in Morocco

Despite finishing runner-up in the T5 category at the season-opening Dakar Rally, Martin Macík Jr. will not take part in the upcoming World Rally-Raid Championship round, the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, as he and his MM Technology team continue to develop their trucks. He intends to return for the next race at the Rallye du Maroc.

The team, along with other Dakar competitors, recently received their vehicles in Marseilles following impounding by race organisers before they could be shipped back to their original owners. MM had two IVECO PowerStar trucks nicknamed “Charles” and “Cenda”, with Macík running the Rally in the latter. Macík led the T5 competitors in stage wins with four (Stages #1, #4, #8, #13, plus the Prologue) but brake failures in Stage #2 ruined his chances at the overall victory and he finished second to Janus van Kasteren by 1:14:34.

Charles will be used at the Morocco Desert Challenge, a non-W2RC event scheduled for 21–30 April, while Cenda will be disassembled for R&D purposes. Charles was previously driven by Macík to three stage victories at the 2021 Dakar Rally.

“All vehicles are back from the port, this year it didn’t take long, and we are already preparing plans for the upcoming season,” Macík stated in a video posted Thursday. “Charles will go to the Morocco Desert Challenge with his new team and MM Technology and provide support. Cenda will be taken apart. We will do some upgrades that we came up with during the Dakar, we want to start testing as soon as possible, and then we will have testing in Africa. We won’t participate in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the second round of W2RC, but we will do the third round at Rallye du Maroc. We will be quite often in Morcco.

“These are our plans for the year. We will also go to Spain, we will practice, we will organise Dakar Obsessed Open Air, but now we have Dakar Obsessed talk shows. There is plenty to look forward.”

Van Kasteren, the first IVECO driver to win at Dakar since 2016, leads the T5 W2RC standings with 113 points to Macík’s 102. Macík had also skipped Abu Dhabi in 2022; despite winning the class in both of his W2RC starts at Dakar and Morocco, he finished second in the championship to Kees Koolen by twenty-six points. Unlike its other four-wheeled counterparts, the trucks do not run every leg of the W2RC.

The Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge is scheduled for 25 February – 3 March. The Rallye du Maroc on 12–18 October will serve as the season finale.