Rokas Baciuska Dakar rally – 3 rd place in T4, best rookie!
Outstanding performance by Rokas Baciuska!
Rokas Baciuska had just turned 22 for his first Dakar last January, but despite his young age, he is no stranger to the ups and downs of motorsport. After a brilliant career in karting that resulted in a national title, in 2017 he entered rallycross part-time before winning the European Rallycross Super 1600 championship.
In 2019 Baciuska moved up to RX Supercars, the premier class in World Rallycross, with a best result of 4th place at the French round, narrowly missing out on the podium due to mechanical problems. 2020 should have been the year where everything fell in place for the young Lithuanian, but uncompetitive machinery prompted him to throw in the towel and switch to rally-raid, a hugely popular sport back home in Lithuania.
On his debut at the Andalucía Rally, he just missed out on a podium finish due to a penalty for changing his tyre in an inappropriate area. On the Polish Baja he tried out another co-driver before finally choosing ex-bike racer Oriol Mena for his last preparation race before the 2022 Dakar.
On the Rallye du Maroc, the new duo finished fifth. The Spaniard has a great deal of Dakar and navigation experience. After having been one of his country’s best enduro riders at international level, he turned to rally-raid. Oriol has scored two Top 10 finishes in the Dakar on bikes in 2018 and 2019. After the 2021 Dakar, where he finished 16th, he came back to Saudi Arabia with Rokas. Last January, the Lithuanian and his new co-driver finished their first Dakar directly on the SSV podium, behind the two Monster Energy Can-Ams of Austin Jones and Gerard Farres.
An impressive debut that suggests there’s plenty of potential for improvement! Rokas is currently second in the W2RC provisional standings going into the second round, tied with teammate Marek Goczal on 68 points with the American on 83 points.