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Dakar Rally

Up for the challenge: VW is planning to put its EcoFuel engines to the test on the world’s...

Motorsport is moving towards establishing green credentials very quickly. Last week we reported on Citroen's hybrid rally car testing and now Volkswagen will field two cars with natural gas engines at the Nürburgring 24-Hour Race on May 23-24. Following the historic one-two victory at the Dakar Rally in January, which Volkswagen won as the first automobile manufacturer using diesel technology in the event, the Wolfsburg brand is now taking on another technical challenge – the use of EcoFuel engines in an endurance test twice around the clock on the world’s most demanding race track. The two Scirocco GT24-CNG 2.0-litre turbo engines powered by natural gas deliver nearly 300hp.  Read More

Mitsubishi to switch to diesel for Dakar 2009

September 9, 2008 The once poor cousin of the gas-burning internal combustion engine, the diesel, is slowly but surely invading the world of motorsport. In recent years the all-conquering Audi team led the diesel assault on sports car racing and diesel now dominates these events. Now Mitsubishi will enter a new, turbodiesel 'Racing Lancer' in next year's relocated-to-South-America Dakar Rally. The new car has an aeronautic steel multi-tubular frame, honeycomb body floor and carbon fiber body powered by a 280PS 3-liter V6 diesel engine producing a prodigious 650Nm peak torque. The engine uses an innovative two-stage turbocharger with both a small and large diameter turbine, one on each side of engine, employed according to engine revolution and load.  Read More

KTM's Giovanni Sala at the 2007 Dakar

February 18, 2008 Just six weeks after the last minute cancellation of the 2008 event due to threats of terrorist attacks, organizers have announced that the 2009 Dakar will take place in Argentina and Chile. The planned 9000 km loop starting and finishing in Buenos Aires from the 3rd to the 18th of January is the first to be held outside of Africa. As well as the name, organizers aim to retain the spectacular and varied topography, demanding competition and the spirit of the legendary 30 year old race.  Read More

Jordi Viladoms in the 2007 Dakar
 Photographer: Van Oers J.

January 5, 2008 For the first time in its 30-year history, the Dakar Rally has been canceled, the day before it was due to start, due to direct threats launched against the race by terrorist organizations based in the area. It appears the event may be moved to sub-Saharan Africa from 2009 onwards. We commiserate with race fans, organizers and the 550-odd competitors for many of whom this "Everest of off-road" event is a lifelong dream.  Read More

Mitsubishi plan clean diesel assault on 2009 Dakar

December 18, 2007 Mitsubishi will use what must be the worlds toughest proving ground - the 2008 Dakar Rally - to garner technical feedback on the company's new high-performance clean diesel engines with a view to fully introducing the technology at the Dakar in 2009. Aiming for its 8th consecutive Dakar victory, Mitsubishi aims to derive durability and endurance data essential to the future development of clean diesel engines already seen in its Concept-cX and Concept-RA vehicles.  Read More

Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret celebrate their victory in the 2007 Dakar Rally...

January 22, 2007 Given that Team Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart had won the last six Dakar Rallies, it was logical to expect the seventh consecutive victory which came about on Sunday with the top two placings on the podium, but that would not have paid the respect due to the fleet of VW 285-hp 2.5-litre TDI turbodiesel Race Touareg and the massive effort of the Volkswagen factory team. As it was, the Volkswagen team led the event for the first eight days and won ten of 14 possible stage victories, and but for one catastrophic day where the team’s two best placed drivers suffered valve-train failure, the results might have been different. The success was a record-breaking 12th win in the team's 25-year history of competing in the world's toughest and most famous off-road rally. The French crew of Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret won the event for the third time in four years in their Mitsubishi Pajero/Montero Evolution and beat their team mates and defending champions Luc Alphand and Gilles Picard by a margin of just seven minutes 26 seconds, after 15 days of bruising competition across Portugal, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and Senegal.  Read More

Depres crosses the finish line after nearly 9000 kilometres  photo:  J Van Oers

January 22, 2007 The world’s most dangerous sporting event is always full of surprises and this year the Dakar Rally continued to write remarkable scripts for its competitors. There was some predictability in that two more competitors died this year - Elmer Symons and Eric Aubijoux – maintaining the average of two competitor deaths a year, with the spectator death toll indeterminate. There’s another given about the motorcycle section of the competition and that’s that KTM will win - the Austrian brand filled the first four spots and 23 of the first 30 finishers. The winner was Frenchman Cyril Despres (Gauloisses KTM) who finished more than half an hour in front of the field. Despres’ win was unexpected as 2005 winner and the dominant rider of the last year, Marc Coma, had led Despres by 52 minutes with just one timed stage remaining of the 8686 kilometre event, after leading the field since January 9. Sadly for Coma, he crashed and could take no further part in the event. Coma and Despres rode identical 72 bhp KTM 690 Rally machines, built specially for the event and competing for the first time.  Read More

Mitsubishi moves to dominant position on last Mauritanian stage of Dakar Rally

January 9, 2006 As the Dakar Rally moved into its second half today, the Repsol Mitsubishi Ralliart Team continued to tighten its grip on a sixth successive victory in the 28th Dakar Rally, as overnight leaders Stephane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret extended their overall lead in the daunting 599 kms special stage between Nouakchott and Kiffa in Mauritania. As the Volkswagen Touareg challenge faded, Mitsubishi teams now hold first, second and fourth in the car section.  Read More

Cyril Despres' Gauloises KTM 
 Photo: H. Peuker

January 5, 2006 KTM’s dominance in the motorcycle section of the Dakar Rally continued yesterday with the fierce competition in the class now focussed between the Gauloises (second, third, fifth) and Repsol (first, fourth, sixth) sponsored KTM teams and a monumental battle between the teams’ lead riders, Cyril Despres (Gauloises KTM) and Marc Coma (Repsol KTM). Yesterday Despres carved 3 minutes and 41 seconds from Coma’s lead during an 800 km stage down the Adraa Valley in Southern Morocco, but Coma still leads the rally by one minute 25 seconds. KTMs fill 13 of the first 14 places on the leaderboard with one third of the rally distance covered, with only the two-wheel-drive Yamaha of David Fretigne (seventh) preventing a complete whitewash of the results.  Read More

Dakar Rally (Day 4): VW takes the lead

January 4, 2006 The Dakar Rally, from Lisbon to Dakar (Senegal), began on Saturday 31 December 2005 with a 370 kilometre stage from Lisbon to Portimao, followed on New Year’s Day with a further 567 kilometres to Malaga, Then followed a seven hour ferry crossing to Morocco for the entire rally contingent before racing got underway in Africa. There have been no surprises to date with Mitsubishi (questing for its sixth consecutive win) and the massive Volkswagen factory Touareg effort alternately holding the lead. In the bikes, the winning marque is already a foregone conclusion with KTM machinery holding the first six places. Yesterday Volkswagen hit back strongly with multiple WRC champion Carlos Sainz skipping out to a five minute lead and Volkswagen taking the first three places overall. Last year our extensive coverage of the Dakar Rally dubbed it the “Most Dangerous Sporting Event in the World” and compared it with the famous road races of 100 years ago. This year our coverage will be written separately for motorcycles and cars.  Read More

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