The Dakar Rally is a competition that has been held for a number of years. Distinguished from other rallies by its varied off-road terrain, this race has become a huge spectacle for young and old alike. There are no few car brands that want to show off the capabilities of their new models on rugged terrain. It is clear from all this that there is no shortage of interest in the race. Competitors from all over the world race alongside amateurs and representatives of the automotive industry. On the Bulgarian side we also often have representatives. Orlin Alexiev Returns to Dakar Rally-
Those that follow the rally know that this will not be the first participation of former municipal councillor Orlin Alexiev in the Dakar Rally. In 2023, Orlin Alexiev and Todor Hristov, in his role of co-driver, will appear at the race in a UTV buggy Can-Am Maverick X3 1000. The race will take place in Saudi Arabia, with Alexiev competing for the first time with this vehicle in this race. Although this will be his third participation overall, he has started his preparations in the beginning of this year. An interesting fact is that for 10 consecutive years the Dakar Rally is held in South America, until 2020, after which the Saudi Arabian terrain is permanently chosen. Because of this, in 2023, that is where Orlin Alexiev will compete. Given the format of the race, off-road roads in Saudi Arabia are not lacking, therefore the decision to hold the race there is not unexpected at all.
Orlin Alexiev first appeared at the Dakar Rally back in 2013 in South America. But then his co-driver was Plamen Nikolov. The achievements for both of them are remarkable – 17th position in their class, driving the BMW X1 Rgoto and 61st position in the overall standings. The two also appeared at the race in 2014, but unfortunately failed to make it to the final because they faced technical difficulties with their vehicle. Alexiev’s second Dakar Rally appearance, however, was overshadowed by the discovery of a load of cocaine in the Spanish team’s vehicle. Initially, there were rumours that the cocaine was hidden in a Bulgarian vehicle, but soon these rumours were refuted and the truth came out. The ship where the drugs were hidden was about to sail from Chile to France. The drugs themselves were hidden in car tyres.
After the scandal broke out, the rally itself seemed to remain in the background. For the participation of Orlin Alexiev with Todor Hristov in 2023, however, there are already great expectations. This will not be the first participation of Todor Hristov, given that in 2011 he was in tandem with Peter Tsankov. Unfortunately, they failed to finish the rally due to an injury. However, they gained useful experience that will now help them with the participation in 2023.
To date, Orlin Alexiev and Todor Hristov will prepare for the competition, starting with participation in the Bulgarian Samokov Trophy competition this year. This race is part of the National Off-Road Championship and will be held the first 3 days of October on the outskirts of Samokov. The vehicle they will be competing with will be the same one they will face the other competitors of the Dakar Rally, namely the Can-Am Maverick X3 1000 UTV buggy. It has up to 200 horsepower and is also suited for cross-country racing.
The “Samokov Trophy” race includes 500 km of courses, which will be tackled by participants from Greece and Romania. The race will end at the Rido motor racing area, with the course closed on the last day.