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Communicating changemaker brands from the desert - Dakar Rally in action

Every year as soon as New Year's celebrations fizzle out, the world's most challenging cross-country event, the Dakar Rally, begins.

If you want to test a new cross-country vehicle, there’s nowhere better than the infamous Dakar Rally – widely recognised as one of the toughest, harshest motorsport challenges in the world. Always pushing the boundaries of technology and trodden paths, we joined GCK Motorsport as they put the new fully-electric GCK e-Blast 1 through its paces in the dunes, rocks and desert around the 2021 Dakar Rally’s NEOM stage, followed by the activation of the biofuel-powered GCK Thunder at the 2022 Dakar Rally.

It also provided a perfect platform for GCK Energy to showcase its abilities to power the e-Blast 1 and the team’s own paddock area with 100% renewable energy, illustrating the potential for renewable, green solutions to power every part of a motorsport championship.

The Dakar Rally saw us capture content almost 24/7, filling up hard drives left, right and centre. The main challenge? Dust… and lots of it! We communicated actively – through social, online, and offline media, and executed our team partner and stakeholder communications plan.

Our main focus from a PR perspective led up to 12th January – the #FutureDakar Press Conference. As part of the Dakar Rally’s plans for a greener future, GCK Motorsport and GCK Energy shared more about their role in developing pioneering technology to drive the future of mobility and green energy. As well as revealing plans for the GCK e-Blast H2, a hybrid evolution powered by both battery and hydrogen, to be race-ready in 2023-2024, it was also an opportunity to show how GCK Energy’s mobile energy solution can power the Dakar's vision of a ‘green bivouac’. This year, the example was set by powering the media centre and TV wall in the NEOM bivouac for the duration of the rally's stay.

The response to these announcements was overwhelming, and it was an honour to be able to give some very special guests, including Jutta Kleinschmidt (FIA President Cross Country Commission), Yann Le Moenner (CEO of the ASO), Their Royal Highnesses Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Abdullah Al Faisal and Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal, as well as a whole host of invited media and journalists, a first-hand experience of the future of mobility with passenger rides in the GCK e-Blast 1.

It was great to see the 'buzz' on the ground in Saudi Arabia as GCK showcased both their current and future projects, and exciting to see the news picked up by media across the globe with over 90 articles/features across 35 countries read by an estimated 1.8 million people by now, including articles in Autosport, Autohebdo, L'Équipe, Autocar and many more.

Through our social media work in Saudi Arabia, ¾ million people were reached with 100,000 video views on GCK Motorsport’s social media channels alone – no mean feat, especially considering the pre-existing audience were mainly petrolheads and RX fans who were new to the sustainable cross-country elements we brought to them.

After almost 3 weeks in Saudi Arabia, we came home covered in dust, exhilarated and in need of sleep, and inspired by the challenge of our Dakar Rally experience.