He plans for a comeback in 2023, his co-pilot will be Todor Hristov
GERB’s former municipal councilor Orlin Alexiev is planning to enroll in the upcoming Dakar Rally for the third time in his life. He is hoping to make a huge comeback with a brand new vehicle – the UTV Can-Am Maverick Х3 1000. The rally is expected to be held in Saudi Arabia in 2023.
The Dakar, or the Dakar Rally, is an off-road endurance event assembled by the Amaury Sport Organization that is open to both amateurs and professionals. An interesting fact is that approximately 80 percent of rally participants are amateurs.
Orlin Alexiev made his Dakar debut back in 2013 when the automobile rally race took place in South Africa. Powering through the terrains with his ВМW Х1 Рrоtо, he finished 61st in the general car ranking and 17th in his class – so far the best ranking Bulgaria has achieved in this competition. Plamen Nikolov was his co-pilot at the time and both teamed up in 2014.
Co-pilots are in charge of navigation to the destination. They are tasked with the responsibility to read the map, operate the GPS, use Google Maps, and watch for exits. Excellent navigation is everything. Unfortunately, the crew could not make the finals due to technical difficulties.
It was in 2014 during Alexiev’s second Dakar enrollment when the so-called “cocaine affair” raged the rally world for weeks. More than a ton and a half of cocaine was found in a service truck after the race. Some media immediately tied the incident to Alexiev’s assistant car.
Later on, his car dealership was searched. Xavier Lapeyre de Cabanes – at the time outgoing French Ambassador – announced that 1,400kg of pure cocaine had been seized in a Chilean port on a ship headed to France. It had been hidden inside spare tires loaded on trucks. The vehicles participating in the Dakar Rally had been used as a disguise. The then Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior Svetlozar Lazarov said that some Bulgarians holding important positions in government had been involved in the trafficking.
A while later, it was made evident that the drugs were found inside a vehicle belonging to one of the largest Spanish teams, the Epsilon Team.
In the Dakar Rally 2023, Alexiev will partner with a new co-pilot – Todor Hristov. The latter is one of the first Bulgarians to take part in the race with an ATV. Hristov competed alongside Petar Tsenkov in Buenos Aires back in 2011; however, a severe injury prevented him from finishing the race. Now, he will be joining Orlin Alexiev in one of the most grueling events in Asia.
In an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, Hristov commented that spending will be adjusted since now a lot of the car pimping accessories are made freely available around the world. They don’t have to be hand crafted or tailored specifically to fit a given vehicle and this significantly lowers their price. Plus, transporting the vehicle to Saudi Arabia will be less costly. Overall, the team assumes they will need around 150,000 BGN (approx. $89,335) for the race.
Preparations for the Dakar Rally will begin early on – at the Samokov Trophy race events. This is a round of the National Off-Road Championship, which will be held in the vicinity of Samokov from 1st October to 3rd October. The Can-Am car is equipped to a high standard and has everything it needs for cross-country racing, with adjustable suspension and a 200-horsepower engine. The crew will claim victory with this vehicle but is concerned delivery of the car may be delayed.
Samokov Trophy will attract over 50 crews from different classes. As always, in addition to Bulgarian competitors, the event will be attended by participants from Romania and Greece. They will have to cover a distance of 500 kilometers over the stretch of three days, with the “icing on the cake” being the closed race track at the legendary motocross track Rido. This will ensue on Sunday (October 3rd).