Rokas Baciuška, Antanas Juknevičius and Vaidotas Žala – these three names can be found in the list of priority drivers for this year’s Dakar Rally.
The updated list has been published by the International Automobile Federation (FIA).
Before the Dakar Rally, it was announced that both A. Juknevičius and Benediktas Vanagas had been removed from this list, and V. Žala had been newly added.
Rokas Baciuška, who is making his debut in the Dakar Rally, is also on the updated list.
Representatives of the Kreda team say that they did not apply to the FIA to return A. Juknevičius to this list, the FIA did so at its own discretion.
The drivers on this list have a little more options during the race. Let’s say twice during a rally, if for some reason the crew falls below the leaderboard and this results in a low starting position the next day, the team can ask for a better starting position. Organizers can do this by giving a maximum of 15 starting positions.
The elite drivers on this list not only have that advantage, but are under a magnifying glass. For example, they cannot exercise the Joker’s right when a crew returns to the rally (a separate Dakar Experience standings) after a day off if they have had an accident or breakdown in the first half of the rally.
Another important rule is ‘transparency’. All racers are not allowed to use mobile phones, tablets or other GPS-enabled devices in the car.
Therefore, cameras are installed in the cars of elite drivers (as well as in the TOP 10 pilots) to monitor whether there is any trickery. The car is also equipped with a special box in which to turn off the phone.