Eduard Pons is trading in his Can-Am Maverick Turbo for a Taurus T3 Max. On Saturday, he announced he will move up from the SSV category to compete in the Challenger class for the 2025 Dakar Rally. To prepare him for the effort, he will make his class début at the Saudi Baja on 8–10 February.
His car will be prepared by Past-Racing with support from BBR Motorsport. Past-Racing is a Spanish outfit that currently competes in the Spanish Cross-Country Rally Championship; for 2024, the team will also lease a fleet of Ford Rangers T1+ to customers who want to race the World Rally-Raid Championship or FIA World Baja Cup as well as the 2025 Dakar Rally. BBR is the flagship partner of the Taurus project, a collaboration between MCE-5 Development and Wevers Sport.
Pons raced the full 2023 World Rally-Raid Championship in the SSV (then T4) class, though he was not registered for points. After finishing twelfth in class at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, he showed competitive pace throughout the rest of the year but was repeated set back by mechanical issues. Pons kept pace with eventual champion Rokas Baciuška at the Sonora Rally, finishing second across the first three stages, before suffering speeding penalties and his car died in Stage #4 to knock him off the class podium. He then won three of five stages at the Desafío Ruta 40, only to suffer a broken tie rod in Stage #3 that forced him to settle for third. His Rallye du Maroc ended on the last day with a gearbox failure while battling for a top five.
He and co-driver Jaume Betriu entered their maiden Dakar in 2024 with South Racing Can-Am; the latter, a Spanish enduro legend, joined Pons’ team in July. They finished sixteenth in SSV with a best daily run of ninth in Stage #3 that placed them in the top ten overall in class, but mechanical gremlins plagued them the rest of the way that included a coil issue during the liaison section in Stage #5, a turbo failure on the Chrono Stage, and a chaotic Stage #10 in which stones punctured the right rear wheel and destroyed the rim. Unlike 2023, Pons is registered for the 2024 W2RC and currently sits eighth in SSV points.
Taurus dominated the Dakar Challenger class with nine total stage wins as Cristina Gutiérrez and Mitch Guthrie finished 1–2.
The Saudi Baja, also known as the Hail International Rally, is the first round of the FIA World Baja Cup. Pons finished fourth in the 2022 World Cup’s T4 standings.