The MM Technology team, including driver Martin Macik Jr., Martin Macik Sr. and mechanic David Svanda, successfully tested Cenda, the factory rally truck upgraded for the 2024 season, in Tunisia. It was the first testing in Africa after a covid break that complicated travel and prevented the team from testing in a true desert environment. Cenda has undergone many improvements which MM Technology fans were able to experience first-hand. They spent five days with the team in the oasis of Ksar Ghilane, during which they experienced not only extended drives with pilot Martin Macik Jr. in Cenda, but they also learned how to conquer the dunes on quad bikes and in off-road cars. Before returning to the czech meadows and groves, the new routes for the Dakar 2024 were also unveiled. Dakar 2024 will consist of only 12 stages and a prologue, compared to last year’s edition. We can look forward to 60 % of the new routes, which will run through both dunes and gravel roads, and we will also return to the Empty Quarter.

Cenda got a better suspension and a lot of gadgets

The excited MM Technology crew headed out into the Tunisian desert with a clear goal – to test and tune Cenda as best as possible. The orange and black rally truck has been given a fine-tuned chassis and improved suspension for the rest of 2023 season and Dakar 2024, both for the chassis and the cabin. The mechanics have also tinkered with a lot of other little things to help the special tackle all the rigors of the terrain. “Not everything can be done in the desert, so we still have a lot of work to do when we get home, but for example the shock absorbers have been completely refitted onsite, together with our supplier FRT. We set up the whole chassis from scratch, in fact we fine-tuned the whole truck,” says David Svanda, mechanic of the MM Technology team. Martin Macik Sr. is also satisfied with the result of the testing. “Everything we wanted to improve after Dakar 2023 has been achieved, which we honestly didn’t expect. But we really took the truck to the next level, and we are happy about that. We’re going back happy and with a lot of information that we’re going to work with and use it also within MM Technology’s client trucks to make our entire fleet faster and even better.”

Fans took on the desert

After a gap of several years, the MM Technology team (together with Unitravel Group travel agency) took fans to Africa. They were greeted by the desert in style right on arrival. Due to a sandstorm in the area, they were unable to get to the oasis by bus and the team had to take off-road vehicles and basically rescue the entire expedition. Everything worked out well and the enthusiastic fans spent 5 days in all-inclusive conditions riding in the Cenda with pilot Martin Macik Jr. and driving in the dunes on quad bikes or in off-road cars, for which they received professional instruction. They have tasted the Dakar conditions first-hand and are taking away experiences to last a lifetime.

Dakar 2024 with new routes in 12 stages

On Saturday, June 3, the organizers unveiled the new features for the Dakar 2024, which will start on January 5, 2024 in Alula and finish on January 19, 2024 in the Yanbu area by the Red Sea. Compared to last year’s edition, the race has only a prologue and 12 stages, but promises new routes for the most part, including several in the Empty Quarter. “On one hand, I’m sorry to see the Dakar shortened by two stages, I really enjoyed last year’s 14, that’s how I would have imagined the Dakar. On the other hand, we have 60 % of new tracks, three brand new stages and hard stages not only at the end of the Dakar but also at the beginning. I’m mostly looking forward to Alula, because it’s a beautiful setting, and of course the Empty Quarter. There will be heaps of sand, that’s important,” says Martin Macik Jr. Navigator Frantisek Tomasek adds: “So far, we know that the first half will be wet, cold and hard, the sands will come on the way back. I’m curious to see what else they come up with.”  Racers will also be treated to a new, more challenging, marathon stage system. The biggest news, however, is a separate category for alternative-powered machines called the Dakar Future Mission 1000. Cars, trucks, and other machinery falling into this category will travel about 100 km each day on modified routes, which adds up to about 1,000 km for the entire Dakar. More will be revealed on 8 June, when the organizers visit the Czech Republic and present details of the entire Dakar 2024.

The MM Technology team will not have much time to rest now. They will have a warm-up race at Baja Aragon, after which they and other Dakar crews will meet the fans on 5 August in Sedlcany Basin as part of the family-friendly Dakar Obsessed Open Air event. Before the start of the Dakar, if everything goes according to plan, they will compete with their rivals in Baja Poland and Rallye du Maroc.