January 1-14: Victory for Al-Attiyah in the Dakar
The prince of the desert hit the Dakar for the fourth time. Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah won his first Dakar contested on Saudi soil thanks to the satisfactory reliability of the new Toyota Hilux T1+, but above all he owes a proud debt to his navigator Mathieu Baumel. The French co-pilot allowed him to slip away from all his opponents from the first stage thanks to a navigational move that was more inspired than all his comrades. Only Sébastien Loeb and Fabian Lurquin, who were close behind them in their BRX Hunter T1+, were able to keep in touch until a recalcitrant driveshaft relegated them to second place for good. At the end of the season, Al-Attiyah and Loeb will finish the first world rally-raid championship (W2RC) in the same order.
20-23 January: Victory for Loeb at Monte-Carlo
The Rallye Monte-Carlo gave us beautiful flashbacks and vintage thrills. Twenty years after his first victory in the WRC, and ten years after his full-time retirement in the premier class of rallying, Sébastien Loeb has not lost a single ounce of talent. Arriving in Monte-Carlo only a few days after his 2nd place on the Dakar, the nine-time world champion opened the era of Rally1 hybrids with an epic battle with another rally legend, his compatriot Sébastien Ogier. A duel which turned to the advantage of the Alsatian, winner for the 80th time in the WRC and for the 8th time on the « Monte-Carl ». For her first WRC rally as a co-driver, Isabelle Galmiche became the first woman to win a world championship round in 25 years!
January 29-30: Victory for Pagenaud-Catroneves-Pagenaud-Jarvis at the 24 Hours of Daytona
At the end of January 2022, for the opening of the IMSA season in the United States, Simon Pagenaud added the Florida double clock to his list for his first race with Meyer Shank Racing, and in the company of teammates XXL: Helio Castroneves, Oliver Jarvis and Tom Blomqvist. As often, these 24 Hours of Daytona 2022 were decided in the final moments of the race. After a final Full Course Yellow, Ricky Taylor, in the lead on the Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, was surprised by Blomqvist who placed the other prototype of the Japanese manufacturer, that of Meyer Shank Racing, on the royal road for the last hour. . Castroneves got through the spectacular fight between the two Porsches of Laurens Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet to finish the job.
February 24: Beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, ouster of Nikita Mazepin and Uralkali at Haas, return of Kevin Magnussen
We were in the middle of winter testing in Barcelona when news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine broke. Ten days later, the time to settle some legal provisions, the contracts which linked Haas to Nikita Mazepin and especially to the Uralkali company of his father Dmitry Mazepin (as title sponsor) were torn unilaterally with immediate effect by the team. American. In absolute terms, Nikita could have legally continued under a neutral license, but Haas simply did not want to mix his image with that of the Mazepins, reputed to be close to Vladimir Putin. Financially buoyed by Uralkali’s investments after a period of extreme difficulty the previous year, Haas decided to recall against all odds a former member of the house, the Dane Kevin Magnussen, who had nevertheless been involved in Endurance with Peugeot. A decision that will prove to be a great success on the sporting level.
March 18: Start of the WEC season and victory for Alpine at Sebring
At Sebring, Alpine surprised everyone for the first round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship season. At the wheel of an “avion-like” A480 on the atypical Florida route, Nicolas Lapierre achieved an impressive pole position. The trio he forms with Matthieu Vaxiviere and André Negrão confirmed in a race that the French team dominated from start to finish. The 1000 Miles of Sebring was cut off from its last hour of racing due to bad weather conditions approaching the circuit and which were going to hit the former military airport in the very last moments. It was under a downpour that Philippe Sinault and his men savored their first victory in the premier category. Rainy podium, happy podium.
March 20: Bahrain Grand Prix, Ferrari double. Leclerc first championship leader, double retirement Red Bull
After two years of hardship for Ferrari against the backdrop of a secret agreement reached with the FIA regarding the use of its engine in 2019, the Scuderia had not tasted victory since Singapore 2019. In Barcelona and Bahrain, the winter tests had raised enormous hopes among the tifosi. Carlos Sainz and especially Charles Leclerc regularly dominated the timesheets. Until their dreams come true in Bahrain for the first of the year. First on Saturday, with the pole position signed by Charles Leclerc, and especially on Sunday with the victory of the Monegasque after very nice and tough battles with Max Verstappen. Carlos Sainz, 2nd, even allowed the team to sign a Ferrari double, made possible by the double abandonment of Red Bull. Ferrari is back!