Harith Noah becomes first Indian to win at Dakar Rally

  • Harith Noah won in the 2024 Dakar Rally 2 Class and finished in 11th place overall, again the best ranking by any Indian in the rally so far.
Harith Noah Dakar Rally 2024
Harith Noah won in the Rally 2 Class of the 2024 Dakar Rally, and finished at P11, the best-ever finish for any Indian
Harith Noah Dakar Rally 2024
Harith Noah won in the Rally 2 Class of the 2024 Dakar Rally, and finished at P11, the best-ever finish for any Indian

Indian rider Harith Noah has created history by becoming the first Indian win at Dakar. The rider won in the 2024 Dakar Rally 2 Class and completed the gruelling two weeks in the Saudi Arabian desert. Noah finished in 11th place overall, again the best ranking by any Indian in the rally so far. The Dakar Rally is considered one of the most challenging races in the world, making this victory even more rewarding.

Backed by TVS, Harith Noah grabbed two stage wins in the Rally 2 Class on the Sherco machine. After a slow push in the first half of the rally due to health complications, Noah picked up pace in the second half of the race starting with the 48-hour Chrono Stage 6, which saw him step up from P18 to P13. He managed to maintain a strong momentum from thereon setting the fastest time in Stage 8 and Stage 10.

Harith Noah Dakar Rally 2024
Harith Noah picked up pace in the second week of the rally taking wins in Stage 8 and Stage 10
Harith Noah Dakar Rally 2024
Harith Noah picked up pace in the second week of the rally taking wins in Stage 8 and Stage 10

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Speaking at the end of Stage 12, Harith said, “I’m happy that I’ve finished. That was the main goal, to reach the finishing line and we are here. I’m really blessed to be here. I learned a lot this year, especially during the second week, I felt really strong and it’s something to build on for next year. I don’t know if I won my category. If I have, that’s good. I knew I was somewhere in the top 3, but I didn’t know anything more, that’s nice. I tried to not have any expectations. I just tried to ride every kilometre one at a time. I tried to navigate and not look at the results, just riding the bike. I think the most surprised I was was on stage ten, I think, when I was leading for some time and then I got fifth overall on the scratch. That really surprised me."

“It’s a really nice feeling to know that you have it in you. I don’t know what happened. I think on the second week I just felt better on the bike, the bike was working perfectly. It was the same bike until the finish, still really strong, so I was really comfortable on the bike, it was good. It feels good to win. I hope it motivates other riders, younger riders, to do the same or try to pursue the same and grow the sport. I never thought when I was a child that I would be here on the Dakar. Then I did my first Dakar, then I finished in 2021, which was amazing, and now here I am finishing, well I don’t know where I’ve finished, but I’m happy. For the next step, we will see and we will talk, plan and, for sure, I’ll be here next year. That’s obviously the goal," he added.

This is Harith’s fifth attempt at Dakar. The rider first competed in the 2020 Dakar and claimed his best-ever finish in 20th place in the 2021 edition. The rider had to forfeit the 2022 and 2023 editions owing to multiple injuries during the rally. Nevertheless, the rider has certainly made it to the top and is already looking to make it back to the ‘start line’ next year.

First Published Date: 19 Jan 2024, 16:49 PM IST
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