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Dakar Rally will be more challenging this time: Indian rider Noah

Updated on: 19 December,2021 11:39 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Ronald Chettiar |

TVS Racing rider will participate in the toughest cross-country rally for the third time next month

Dakar Rally will be more challenging this time: Indian rider Noah

Indian rider Harith Noah

Harith Noah, the five-time Indian National Supercross champion, is set to represent the nation again at the 2022 Dakar Rally to be held in Saudi Arabia from January 1 to 14. But this time, he wants to stay in the moment.

Noah, 28, who made his Dakar debut in 2020, became the first rally driver representing India to have finished the world’s most arduous race in the Top 20 this year.

Noah believes, compared to the previous races, the 44th edition of the rally, which will start from Jeddah via Riyadh and end in the Saudi Arabian capital, will be more difficult.   

“This race will be harder compared to  previous editions. You don't know what to expect. They give you information about the stages, but not much. This year, the marathon stage is in the first week. Normally, it's in the second week. In fact, it is on the second day. That is very surprising. At Dakar, you are sure to make mistakes. The important thing is how fast you get back on track and how long you think about the mistake. I plan to live in the moment and not think far too long about it," said Noah during a virtual meet on Friday.

The Kerala-based rider won his first National Supercross title in 2011 and was recruited by TVS Racing in 2012.  He is not looking at the result but aims to finish the race.

"I never look at the results. So, I don't know where I finish [in every stage]. Every day I get to know my position as the starting line-up is decided on where you finish in the last stage. It's such a long race and I want to do the best I can; the results will follow," said Noah, who became the fourth rider from India to take part in a prestigious rally after CS Santosh, Ashish Roarane and Aravind KP.

Talking about what makes Dakar special, Noah feels that, unlike circuit races, this event is a test of a rider's navigation skills and there are external factors that make the two-week event very challenging.

“External factors play a very crucial role, that’s why Dakar is such an interesting race. And that is the main reason why I like cross-country rallies. It’s not like motocross or close-circuit race where mostly skill and fitness matter. But at Dakar, it’s not just the skill on the motorcycle—obviously, it’s important—but it’s also the navigation skill and the mental strength. It’s a combination of many more things than just the normal circuit race. It makes the playing field more even. So the navigation is important,” explained the Scott Sports-supported Indian rider.

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