His presence in some camps from the 2020 edition of the rally Dakar Rally en Saudi Arabia attracted attention, but not surprising. Is that if there is something that has always characterized David Richards It is that restless spirit that has allowed him to be at the highest level of world motorsport. First as a great navigator, something that he certified with the 1981 world title together with the Finn Ari Vatanen; later as team owner Prodrive, which achieved great results in the WRC; and even as team-manager of the team Honda de F1. It was not strange, then, to think that the Briton was there because he had set his eye on the toughest race in the world for a new project. The one known today as Bahrain Raid Xtreme...
“I always wanted to be in the Dakar. It is very interesting. Much more than I thought "Richards explained to Automundo in an exclusive interview. “I think Arabia is a perfect country for this. You know, it has some very interesting territory. Many different types of terrain, from fast to slow. Overall, I left with a very positive feeling. I was very impressed by the race. For many years I saw it from the outside and now I am reading and seeing everything I can about it ", Agregó.
Richards found a perfect partner for this new endeavor, none other than the Kingdom of Bahrain. "I have known the royal family and many other people for almost 50 years. It can be said that I saw this country grow. They were always very, very interested in racing and it was their idea to do something to be represented in Saudi Arabia. So it's very good for me to go back to work with my friends from Bahrain"I affirm.
The Bahrain Raid Xtreme will compete with a prototype with Traction on the four wheels which will be equipped with a 6-liter turbocharged gasoline V3.5 engine. For now there is no automaker related to the project, although Richards did not rule it out for later. In fact, he stated that he had conversations with some: "That is something that pwe can do in the future. We have spoken with two manufacturers. There may be a possibility of working with a manufacturer in the future, but not at this time. "
Although the former navigator did not give names, it is inevitable to assume that those marks could be Aston Martin, since it is linked to the English constructor through its participation in the Wec; and also Porsche, with which he worked in the '80s with the team Rothmans who went on to run and win rally races in the Middle East.
The talk with Richards allowed to have dimension of his aspirations. Although three units will be enlisted in the Dakar 2021, the goal is to build 25 machines that will be for sale after the first foray into the toughest competition in the world.
From now on, the Bahrain Raid Xtreme wants to be the protagonist, even already in its debut. "We can be competitive and we hope to be in our first year… Yes, it is a new car and a new car cannot be guaranteed to be totally reliable, but I am pretty sure it will be very competitive." points out this 68-year-old man born in Banbury.
To know the team's line-up, we will have to wait a few more weeks. There are talks with several pilots and Richards' idea is "Sign long-term contracts". The names will only be announced when the tests begin, which will first be on European territory and then in the Middle East. "So don't expect an announcement until the end of August ", clarifies.
Due to the characteristics of the Dakar rally, experience is extremely important. And one of those that would be on the list would be Spanish Nani Rome, which last January competed for Borgward. He would also be among the favorites to get into one of the cars Chris Meeke, although in his case he would have his first experience like the BRX ...
Richards does not hide his enthusiasm for this new challenge. “This is a great project for us. Besides, it is something completely new and that also makes it exciting. ", admits who ran successful structures in various specialties. "We have won in many disciplines, but never in the Dakar. So it is like climbing a mountain. You know, if you are a mountaineer, you want to climb Everest. And I think Dakar is like Everest. We have to work hard to achieve our goal, which is only one: to win ”, said.
The Bahrain Raid Xtreme is ready to fight and David Richards, his mentor, too.