Victory: Dakar Classic Rally 2022

Dream, challenge, adventure and a good time with friends

Our story about the Dakar Classic 2022 starts with a dream of Mario and Sladi, becomes a huge project of Mr. Jacober and Mr. Miljic and ends as an adventure of the friends Mario and Sladi. Each phase was extremely exciting, challenging, emotional and formative. Each phase was a good time. That it would be, we believed early, trusted the friends and supported them. Our logo is also emblazoned on the car, which surprisingly even got the official support personally from the CEO of Lada.

Some said we made an adventurous decision and in retrospect we must say, yes, it was a decision for a great adventure! Mario and Sladi let us participate in this adventure every day with many pictures, films and comments. We sat on the non-existent back seat of their 27 year old Lada Niva, which they had converted into a rally car in Russia – and we were up close for two weeks with the watch we developed for the occasion. The “Niva Red Legend” endured every meter of rally and was another important tool for the success of the rally participation. Although speed is not the most important criterion in the Dakar Classic, reliable time and timing is a critical success factor.

Even though Mario and Sladi had meticulously worked out all the things that would await them, the reality was then a completely different dimension. Just as the sand crept into every crack of the car, exhaustion crept into the team more and more each day. But the enthusiasm was so great, the adrenaline flowing through their bodies by the liter, that they only really missed sleep after the rush of joy had subsided at some point behind the finish line.

Drive to survive, we heard umpteen times when they informed us in the morning and in the evening with detailed videos about the respective stage. We always knew the condition of the car, the two friends, the team and the rally. But we also knew the Nutella roll in the morning, which was essential for Sladi’s survival, and other details that one would otherwise never know, but which make the experience so intense.

In the evening we often had 50 or 60 messages on our cell phones, which we devoured every day. There were many emotional moments but also situations that made us laugh. For example, the Niva Red Legend on the rest day in front of a McDonald restaurant. Or when Mario overtook the extreme Dakar Audi once and celebrated that like winning the Dakar Classic. We then laughed away together the tensions that every little noise on the car that was not normal directly caused. The Niva Red Legend held on, driven with due care and perfectly maintained. This is the victory we had all been looking forward to and are now celebrating.

The gratitude that there had been people who believed in them when they were still dreaming was shown by Mario and Sladi in the special earnestness with which they shared with us. These two men have not only arrived at their dream, but have more than earned every support. Because they crossed the finish line and how they reached it.

After the Dakar is before the Dakar. That was to be expected. Once you’ve experienced it, you’re hooked. We are in any case. We will bring Mario, the proud driver, Sladi, the proud co-driver, and Mathias, the proud mechanic, to Zurich to hear all the stories again eye to eye, to see the car and to get goose bumps again and again.

We will all be contrite afterwards. Those who were there, because they will feel the sand in all the cracks and those who were not there – because they were not there.

Here are the most important key data of the Dakar Classic 22:

Dakar Classic 2022 – Saudi Arabia 02.01.22 – 14.01.22

Start: Ha’il 

Finish: Jeddah

Length: 6’133 km

12 Stages 

28. Dec  Car Recovery 

29. Dec  Scrutineering

30. Dec  Private Test

31.  Dec Transfer to Ha’Ill

01. Jan   Prologue/Qualifying

02. Jan  Start

08. Jan  Rest day in Riyadh

14. Jan  Finish

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