On a regular, participants in the Dakar rally get to wrestle with different types of landscapes. This includes mountains, wadis, oases, dunes, and canyons. For 2021, part of the race will be done at the coast and on soft ground. Drivers will also be able to alternate between sharp stones and dunes.
For everyone to have an easier time driving on different terrains, cross-country rally tires have to provide the right balance when it comes to traction, resistance to wear, resilience, directional stability, and grip. This balance is never easy to strike, but those in charge of development have successfully done it.
The 2021 route that drivers will use is different from the one that was used in 2020. It includes new stages and a marathon leg that will raise the temperatures during the second week. The rally is scheduled to begin on January 3 near the Red Sea in Jeddah. Rally drivers will then cover the coast for hundreds of kilometers and turn east towards Al-Jawf.
From there, they’ll head to Ha’il, a place located on a former trade route that starts at the Red Sea and goes all the way to Mesopotamia. Rally competitors will have a day of rest here on January 9 and then head southwest. They’ll finish on the westward part and in New Jeddah on January 15.
Like it happened in 2020, it’s expected that up to 2,000 BF Goodrich tires will be fitted and/or replaced by the tire maker. Crews normally utilize 20-50 tires throughout the 12-day marathon. This is depending on the type of car they are driving and the class they are competing in.
One of the tires that will be used in the BF Goodrich Dakar 2021 rally is the BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A KDR2+. Its tread pattern was brilliantly made with an emphasis on ability to move over dunes and clear sand. It’s open along the shoulders to allow for better traction while at the same time, reduce the risk of stalling on soft ground.
Engineers at BF Goodrich combined this tread design with a soft compound to make sure the tire could tackle the dunes and give drivers some peace of mind. Its resilient construction makes sure it’s dynamic enough to handle faster sections and rough terrains alike. Soft and medium compounds ensure that it also handles excellently and is resistant to knocks. It also guarantees directional stability, traction, and grip.
Another tire that will find its way into the 2021 Dakar rally is the BFGoodrich KM3. The latest version of this tire is currently in its fifth generation. The very first one was launched in 1980. It is developed like all other tires from BF Goodrich and benefits from the same performance improvements. New sizes will be added in the Dakar rally to make sure all driver needs are met. The KM3 can equally handle dunes well and scale the hardest slopes. It also handles sand and mud pretty well.