Just a few hours from now, on January 1, cars, trucks, and motorcycles will line up on the starting grid of the 44th iteration of the Dakar Rally. Far from its original course, the race takes place for the third consecutive year in the Middle East, in Saudi Arabia, to be more precise. As you can imagine, everyone with an interest in the race is very pumped about it at the moment. One of the most constant and impressive presences in the competition, Red Bull KTM, is attending the 2022 race as well, with the KTM 450 Rally and riders Matthias Walkner, Toby Price, Kevin Benavides, and Danilo Petrucci on deck for the fight. As said, there are just a few hours left until the start of the race, and, with little time to spare and as others are still putting on the finishing touches on their machines, KTM announced the shakedown of the bikes is now complete. “The shakedown is done – I was really happy to get back on the bike here in Saudi Arabia,” said in a statement Matthias Walkner, now at his eighth participation in the event. “Now all the concentration and hard work from the last few months are really coming together as we get close to the start of our big race. I felt a little strange on the bike at first because it has been almost two weeks with no riding, but I was soon able to get comfortable and test quite a few settings.” Dakar 2022 comprises 12 stages, with the one on January 1 kicking off around Ha’il and spanning a distance of 19 km (11.8 miles). It’s considered a prologue of sorts to the 514 km (319 miles) looped route which will have to be completed the following day. Dakar is scheduled to run for two weeks, ending in Jeddah. If you’re planning to watch the race on TV Fox Sports and Red Bull TV are the ones airing it.