American Amy Lerner and her co-driver Sara Bossaert, of Barcelona, Spain crossed the finish line of the 2022 Dakar Rally in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, after motoring 8,375 kilometers in the team’s 1982 Porsche 911 SC. The duo completed the prologue and 12 competitive stages of the motorsports event that is considered the toughest rally raid in the world, placing 1st, 2nd and 6th in the “Classic” class stages and earning a number of 1st and 2nd placements in the navigation and regularity challenges in this class that is open to vintage vehicles from before 2000. This new category in the celebrated rally began last year and attracted 24 entries; it’s open to heritage vehicles that participated in the rally founded by Thierry Sabine in 1979 or have the capability to perform as desert racers. This year’s 44th edition drew 142 pioneer models at the start; these ‘star cars’ comprised more than 25 percent of the 578 teams that participated in the overall legendary rally, held for the third time in Saudi Arabia. Other classes include motorcycle, quad, car, SSV, truck and prototype.
It was the second participation for Lerner and Bossaert’s Team AL Rally and the team’s rear-drive 911 that was prepared by GRally as a tribute to Jacky Ickx and Rene Metge, who won the rally overall in 1984 in a similar Porsche. The car was upgraded this year with toughened parts to withstand the rigors of the competition by the experienced DeMevius family team of GRally, from Wavre, Belgium, who also provided support on the rally. A top moment on the rally was a surprise visit to Lerner at the rally’s bivouac by the world-renowned racer and Dakar-winner Ickx.
“I was super excited about our performance this year, with our win out of the 133 vehicles on Stage 9 of the rally,” enthused Lerner, who noted that she and Bossaert were one of the three all-women’s teams on the rally that drew 33 women in total. “We finished the prologue in 88th place and worked our way to 12th at the halfway point of the rally, but lost valuable time after running out of fuel 3 kilometers from the finish on Stage 7 and becoming stuck on a dune on Stage 8,” explained Lerner, who piloted the rear-drive Porsche with a manual transmission. “The terrain was really difficult; I owe thanks to BFGoodrich for their support and amazing tires which enabled me, in a 2WD vehicle, to drive on through many sections that saw multiple 4WD teams getting stuck.” Team AL Rally finished 37th overall in Classics and 15th in the H1 category.
The 2022 Dakar staged in the south of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, beginning along the Red Sea before traveling north to Ha’il and then westerly to capital city Riyadh; it then descended into the Empty Quarter, with a finish at the Formula 1 track in Jeddah. The competitive stages took place over a variety of terrains, including rocky and sandy trails, passages through majestic canyons and towering cliffs and across oceans of desert dunes, as well as liaisons on paved roadways.