The Dakar Rally and Baja 1000 are among the largest off-road races in the world. Miguel Ángel Arranz Lopez has already conquered the latter, and now wants to do the same at the former.
In 2023, Arranz will begin preparing for the 2024 Dakar Rally by running three major events beginning with the Morocco Desert Challenge on 21–30 April. He will return to Morocco for the Rallye du Maroc on 12–18 October, followed by the Baja 1000 on 13–18 November.
“2023 will be an intense year of preparation to reach December 31, 2024,” posted Lopez on social media. “Four big goals will mark this year. We hope our sponsors trust in this great project. Now it’s time for a lot of preparation and hard work to be ready.”
Arranz won the Pro Quad Ironman class at the 2021 Baja 1000; as the name suggests, those competing in Ironman categories do so on their own without a team-mate to replace them for the entire duration. He previously completed the 1000 in the Sportsman Quads in 2017, where he finished eleventh in class.
Prior to Baja, Arranz had been competing on a Quad since 2001 in his native Spain. In 2012, he won the Baja España Aragón. However, according to an interview with Heraldo de Aragón following his Baja victory, he stopped domestic competition as he wished for a greater challenge.
Indeed, the Baja 1000 is regarded as one of the most difficult races in the world as the longest continuous off-road event, while the Dakar Rally’s reputation needs no introduction. It is not uncommon for racers to take part in both, let alone in the same year: Gerard Farrés, Tomás de Gavardo, Ariel Jatón, Austin Jones, António Marmolejo, and Toby Price all took part in last weekend’s Baja 1000 ahead of running the 2023 Dakar Rally that begins in December.
The Rallye du Maroc is a stage on the World Rally-Raid Championship like the Dakar Rally. Conversely, the Morocco Desert Challenge is organised without FIM sanction like the W2RC. While Arranz’s previous successes are likely enough to qualify him for the Dakar grid, the Rallye du Maroc also presents an opportunity via the Road to Dakar, which rewards those who have never raced at Dakar with an invitation if they perform well in select races.