Honda has announced a works team to be called Team HRC that will participate in the motorcycle class in the Dakar Rally to be held in from the 5th to 20th of January 2013 in South America. Team HRC, will include Portuguese rider Helder Rodrigues, who took third place in the 2012 Dakar Rally, and Brazilian Felipe Zanol, who brings a wealth of experience in motocross and enduro race events, as well as Sam Sunderland (United Kingdom) and Javier Pizzolito (Argentina).
They will ride a prototype machine developed and produced by the Motorcycle R&D Center at Honda R&D. The prototype machine is based on the CRF450X, a popular choice for privateers who have want to participate the Dakar in nothing but a Honda. Kit parts designed for use on the standard CRF450X model have also been developed and will be made available to a limited number of teams.
For the 2013 edition of the Dakar Rally, the Dakar will be hosted by three countries Peru, Chile and Argentina. The Rally starts at Lima, Peru takes a break at San Miguel de Tucuman, northern Argentina and finishes at Santiago, Chile.
Honda has competed nine times in the motorcycle class in the Paris-Dakar Rally, from 1981 through to 1989, and was a winner five times during that period. It has been 23 years since it last participated in the Rally.
Tetsuo Suzuki, President, Honda Racing Corporation, commented “The Dakar requires competitors to cover several hundred kilometers per day for more than two weeks. It needs a totally different type of vehicle from events such as motocross, trials and road races. Honda has put a great deal of effort into designing and building a powerful and winning machine. We are aiming for the championship from this first year.”