Hyundai World Rally Championship driver Dani Sordo will make his cross-country rallying debut on the Qatar International Baja, which takes place on March 24-26.
The three-time WRC event winner will contest the second round of the FIA World Cup for Bajas aboard a Can-Am Maverick in the T3 Lightweight Prototype class.
The car will be prepared by Nasser Racing, the team owned by four-time Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Sordo will be joined in the team by former fellow WRC driver Kris Meeke, who continues his cross-country adventure alongside French navigator François Cazalet.
Cazalet is the 2021 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies champion after securing the title at the side of X44 Extreme E driver Cristina Gutiérrez.
Sordo’s navigator for the Baja has yet to be revealed.
This isn’t Meeke’s first time in a T3 buggy. He competed in a PH Sport-build Zephyr at last year’s Dakar Rally, winning two stages but facing big delays as a spare tire caught fire and compromised the electronics on his buggy.
A total of 28 cars have entered the three-day event which starts on Thursday at the Qatar International Circuit in Losail.
Leading the overall entry list is Al-Attiyah, while fellow cross-country regulars Yazeed Al Rajhi, Yasir Seaidan and Miroslav Zapletal are also in the mix for victory honors.
The Baja will cover a total of 474.8 miles across two legs – 283 of which will be timed – with gravel and dirt tracks – a common trait of Baja racing – the primary surface in front of the competitors.
There will be around 15% of dunes, offering a similar type of challenge to that of the Dakar in nearby Saudi Arabia.
Outside of the WRC, Sordo has driven a number of stage rallies, most notably in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC) in 2012 and the European Rally Championship in 2018 and last season.
But this will be the first time that the former Citroën, Ford and Mini WRC driver will take part in a cross-country event, joining the likes of Meeke, Al-Attiyah, Mirko Hirvonen, Sébastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz in making the switch in disciplines.