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5 Things To Look For At The 2018 Dakar Rally

5 Things To Look For At The 2018 Dakar Rally

Churning terra firma for ultimate off-road glory

With the flipping of the calendar, all eyes once again turn to South America for the 40th running of the infamous Dakar Rally. 2018 marks the tenth time this arduous 9,000 km (5,592-mile) event has run across the continent, once again keeping the spirit alive with an impressive lineup of high-performance vehicles and talented pilots to guide them. Per tradition, the Dakar promises to deliver tons of drama and motorsport-style heroics, and as such, we’re giving you five things to look out for at this year’s event. We’re also breaking down how to watch the event, be it online or on TV, so read on and get stoked.

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2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi

2018 Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi

The French automaker’s shot at a three-peat exit from the Dakar

This coming January, lovers of dirt-flavored racing will once again turn their attention to the Southern Hemisphere as the infamous Dakar Rally hits South America for the tenth year running. 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the event, once again promising a grueling 10,000 km (6,214 miles) of racing over some of the most difficult terrain Mother Nature can produce. The outlined route will lead teams through Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, challenging competitors with steep sand dunes, craggy boulder fields, twisting tarmac, and impossibly high mountain passes. This is one of the ultimate tests of man and machine, but Peugeot looks ready for anything. The French automaker took top honors in the Dakar earlier last year, giving it back-to-back victories between 2016 and 2017. Now, the French automaker is looking for a three-peat with this – the updated 3008 DKR Maxi. The “brand-new racing lion” might carry the same name as the road-going Peugeot 3008, but it’s far removed from what you get in dealers, bringing the heat thanks to a host of impressive motorsport cues courtesy of Peugeot Sport, all aimed at ultimate victory over terra firma.

The Peugeot 3008 DKR Maxi has undergone extensive testing in Morocco, Portugal, and France to prepare for the 2018 Dakar event, logging more than 18,000 test km (11,185 miles) over the past year. What’s more, Team Peugeot Total has once again assembled a dream team of talent for the driver’s roster, including names like Peterhansel, Loeb, Sainz, and Despres. Still – the Dakar is unpredictable at best. Will the new 3008 DKR once again have what it takes to snag another win?

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2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy

2018 Mini John Cooper Works Rally And Buggy

A two-pronged attack from the Dakar champs

As is tradition, the world of motor sport is looking to kick off 2018 with the infamous Dakar Rally, one of the most brutal, unforgiving, car-breaking, will-sapping events ever conceived. The Dakar heads into its 40th running this year, and its tenth stint in South America after the move across the Atlantic in 2009, and once again, competitors will do battle over a variety of terrain, from sand, to tarmac, to boulder fields, to 13,000-foot mountain passes. With so much tough terrain and such insane distances to cover, simply completing the Dakar is considered a major accomplishment. However, X-raid and Mini aren’t looking to just reach the finish line - they wanna win. Thus far, the collaborative effort has yielded four consecutive victories between 2012 and 2015, with the most recent outing in 2017 snagging sixth overall thanks to the efforts of Argentinian driver Orlando Terranova. Now, X-raid and Mini are gearing up for a fresh approach that includes the brand-new RWD Mini John Cooper Works Buggy. Created to take advantage of certain regulations to bolster 2WD competition, the Buggy will race alongside the more traditional Countryman-based 4WD Mini John Cooper Works Rally for a two-pronged approach to tackling the Dakar.

Fittingly, both vehicles were presented in Paris prior to their competition debut. The Buggy is a particularly exciting new venture for the Germany-based X-raid, which for the past 15 years has focused primarily on 4WD competition vehicles. However, with an experienced roster of drivers ready to take the controls, plus the proven Mini Rally to bolster the ranks, the team is feeling good about its chances. Read on for details on what makes these machines tick.

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Dakar Rally 2017 – Day 1 On The Books!

Dakar Rally 2017 – Day 1 On The Books!

One of the most brutal motor races in the world launches into 2017

The latest edition of the Dakar Rally is now officially underway, with over 500 adventurous souls taking the helm of their chosen chariot to see if they have what it takes to conquer this monster of an event. And while there’s still quite a bit of ground to cover, the results from Stage 1 are in. Leading the cars is Nasser Al-Attiyah, while Xavier de Soultrait heads the bike class. Meanwhile, Marcelo Medeiros takes the lead in the quad class, Martin Kolomy leads in the truck class, and Tim Coronel leads in UTV’s.

For those of you who are unaware, the Dakar Rally is an annual “rally raid” event whereby competitors race off-road, from point to point. The event pits drivers and their vehicles against some of the most challenging terrain Mother Earth can muster, including nearly 5,600 miles of dirt, sand, boulders, grit, and grime. Just finishing the event is considered a major accomplishment.

Established in the late ‘70s, the name of the event stems from the original route, which started in Paris, France, and ended in Dakar, Senegal. In 2009, the event was moved to South America, but make no mistake – it’s still every bit as treacherous as the original rally.

Stay tuned, because we’ll be bringing you updates as the event progresses towards its conclusion January 14th.

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The 2016 Dakar Rally is Underway

The 2016 Dakar Rally is Underway

The 37th running of the Dakar Rally is currently underway in South America. Held between January 2, 2016 and January 16, the gurgling off-road race pits drivers and their machines against some of the toughest terrain on Earth, with the course stretching over 5,700 miles through the counties of Argentina and Bolivia.

This year’s rally is broken up into 16 stages, mostly coordinated by day, with checkpoints after each leg. Race results are based on time rather than strictly finishing order. The Dakar is raced by four separate classes of vehicles, including motorcycles, quads, cars, and trucks. While generally all four classes race towards the same rally point on each leg, often times specially selected courses are marked as the best suited for each class.

The truck class resembled 18-wheelers mixed with Baja 1000 rigs. Also called the Lorrie class, the trucks are car-over-engine models and must weight over 7,716 pounds to qualify. The car class combined the high-speed off-road prowess of Baja trucks with a familiar car or crossover body. Mini Cooper has had a massive presence in this class. Both the quad and motorcycle class use highly specialized bikes and four-wheelers driven by expert riders.

A live feed is available at the official Dakar website and includes photos and videos. You can check it out here to follow the daily action.

Continue reading for the 2016 Dakar Rally schedule

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New Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Will Race Baja Portalegre 500 Challenge

New Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Will Race Baja Portalegre 500 Challenge

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is gearing up take its 4WD 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV to the dirt in the Baja Portalegre 500 rally raid.

The specialized race version of the vehicle was specifically developed for the event, and will be piloted by Mitsubishi factory driver Hiroshi Masuoka, who is best known for winning back-to-back victories in the legendary Dakar rally raid in 2002 and 2003. He’s only the fourth driver in Dakar history to win in consecutive years. He also took victory in the 2003 Baja Italy and 2004 UAE Desert Challenge. 

In addition to driving duties, Masuoka will also play the part of team captain. Supporting him will be a glut of Mitsubishi personnel, including team manager and technical director Yasuo Tanaka. Tanaka is also an engineering expert from the EV Component Research Department at Mitsubishi. Alongside him will be four engineers from the department.

Organized by the Portuguese Automobile Association, the Baja Portalegre 500 will see its 29th running this year, and will pit competitors against one another in 500 km (311 miles) of dirt, gravel, and punishingly harsh conditions. The event is part of the ninth round of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup, and over 300 vehicles are expected to take part, including cars, motorcycles, and quads. The Portalegre 500 is also known as a warm-up for the infamous Dakar rally, which is slated to kick off this coming January. 

The Baja Portalegre 500 will take place in the Portalegre province of eastern Portugal between October 22nd and 24th. Entrants will see non-stop action over the entirety of the 500 km, halting only for brief 20-minute service intervals. 

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2014 Dakar Rally is Underway

2014 Dakar Rally is Underway


US - Stage 1 - Car/Bike - Stage Summary... by Dakar

The 35th running of the Dakar Rally began its official start yesterday in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina and ending in Valparaíso, Chile, some 800 miles over some of the roughest, most unforgiving landscape traversed in modern motorsports. Sunday’s race is only the beginning, representing the first, yet longest stage in a 13-stage race. The total distance traveled will be over 2,600 miles over 14 days through three countries in central South America.

Racing each stage are four classes of vehicles: bikes, quads, cars, and trucks. Each is highly modified and capable of handling the extreme terrain. The cars, for example, look something like a cross between a Baja 1000 truck and a Rally America racer with massive shock absorbers, knobby tires, all-wheel drive and a fearless driver. The truck, or Lorrie class, includes cab-over-engine trucks weighing over 7,716 pounds and look something like a Mercedes Unimog.

Continuing today through January 18th, the Dakar will snake its way through Argentina up to Bolivia, then turning south again for Chili. Separate routes are mapped out — one for the motorcycles and quads, the other for the cars and trucks — keeping the race circuit more suited for the vehicle types.

A live feed is available on the official Dakar website, along with more photos and videos of the action. The results for each day’s finishers are posted there as well.

Click past the jump for more videos of the Dakar Rally

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2014 Ford Ranger Dakar Rally

2014 Ford Ranger Dakar Rally

Did you know that over 1 billion people tune in to watch the Dakar Rally?

That’s a staggering number for a race that used to run from Paris to Dakar until 2008 and then moved to South America from 2009 until the present time. Next year, the Dakar Rally returns to the spotlight, running from Rosario, Argentina all the way to Valparaiso, Chile.

Ford has always been one of the brands that regularly participates in the rally and for the 2014 installment, the automaker is bringing a pair of Ford Rangers for the 5,281-mile race to Chile.

Mind you, these aren’t your typical T6 Ranger 4×4 Double Cabs that will brave the elements in Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. Built and prepared by Neil Woolridge Motorsport, the Ranger Dakar Rally has been carefully tinkered with to be able to withstand grueling terrain. Both pickups were fitted with 5.0-liter V-8 engines, each producing an impressive 349 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and 413 pound-feet of torque at 4,100 rpm. These powerful engines mate to a Sadev six-speed sequential transmission that links to a four-wheel-drive setup.

More than just its performance capabilities, the Ranger Dakar Rally pickup racers were also given the full race-spec treatment, complete with modified front and rear suspension, anti-roll bars on both sides of the pickup, and a set of 16-inch Evocorse wheels wrapped in race-spec Michelin tires.

With a grueling race like Dakar, fuel efficiency is very important in ensuring that the racers last the whole 13-day run. Fortunately, these Rangers are more than capable of that task, thanks to a fuel consumption rating that runs between 28 liters/100 km (8.4 mpg) and 90 liters/100 km (2.6 mpg), when driving in sandy racing conditions.

The race begins on January 5, 2014 and runs until the 18th of the same month. It’s still a little ways down the road, but it’s exciting knowing that participating teams are already gearing up for the event in their own way.

Click past the jump to read about the Ford Ranger

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2013 RallyRaid Desert Warrior 3

2013 RallyRaid Desert Warrior 3

RallyRaid International brings 16 years of hard-fought distance rallying expertise to the creation of their latest model, the Desert Warrior 3. The DW3’s rise and current dominance of FIA endurance rallying is an interesting “underdog” story. Exclusive interviews with team principle Paul Round and lead designer Mike “BD” Jones reveal the details of the BMW-powered DW3’s exotic in-house design and the current two-model range.

The RallyRaid DW3 looks like a simple body-style evolution on the familiar Bowler template for Land Rover-based Dakar rally cars. In fact, the Evoque appearances are just a cosmetic touch to provide continuity between the DW3 and RallyRaid’s previous generations of Defender-inspired Desert Warriors.

UK-based RallyRaid International is a small, battle-hardened operation that shies from the limelight much more than others in the high-dollar rally prototype scene. The competition schedule demands the bulk of the team accompany the race cars on their frequent two-week-long, 1,000-plus-mile off-road races in some of the most desolate, inhospitable corners of the globe. There is no road-legal variant and there’s no fancy customer showroom - aside from the dusty podiums of the Dakar finish line.

Please follow the jump for the full mechanical specifications, an awesome video montage of the car’s design and construction and image gallery of the Desert Warrior 3 inside and out.

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2012 Mini Countryman X-raid Dakar Edition

2012 Mini Countryman X-raid Dakar Edition

X-raid Team’s Mini ALL4 Racing cars are preparing to defend their crown at the upcoming Dakar Rally set to begin on January 5, 2013. However, these are not the cars set to enter the competition, but the cars that will assist the team through the 5,000 miles of desert through Peru, Argentina and Chile.

These very special Countryman have been equipped with a full range of original Mini Accessories, including: 18-inch light-alloy wheels with run-flat tires, mud flaps for the front and rear wheel arches, auxiliary headlights, and all-weather floor mats plus a protective load compartment cover made from hard-wearing PVC.

They will feature matte black paint combined with red roofs and racing stripes, and, of course, those Monster Energy logos. The black paint has been combined with silver-colored add-on parts for the front and rear apron, and side skirts.

Each car will also feature an off-road package that will help it deliver the best driving experience on any kind of road, be it gravel, desert tracks or mountain passes.

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2011 Range Rover Evoque 'T3' Dakar Rally Racer

2011 Range Rover Evoque ’T3’ Dakar Rally Racer

The world famous Dakar Rally poses the kind of challenges that makes it difficult for just about any professional race driver. As if traveling over 9,000 km in a span of two weeks is tough enough, the fact that you’re going to need to do it in some of the world’s toughest conditions makes it as unforgiving as any race there is in the world.

One team that appears to be up to the challenge of the Dakar Rally is the British Excite Rally Raid Team, which will take part in the world’s ultimate endurance race with three customized Range Rover Evoques commissioned by RaBe Race Cars.

On the surface, the vehicle does look like the Evoque, but pretty much everything about the luxury SUV has been stripped down to accommodate for its run in Dakar, including a different kind of engine that was added to make it rally-spec.

Instead of the typical 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter Si4 turbocharged engine that you can find under the Evoque, these rally-tuned versions carry a BMW-sourced 3.0-liter turbocharged straight-six diesel engine that produces 275 horsepower and 480 lb/ft of torque mated. These engines are mated to a ZF six-speed transmission and equipped with special BF Goodrich desert tires.

The RaBe-commissioned Evoque rally racers will be driven by three British drivers from the British Excite Rally Raid Team, consisting of Martin Rowe, Andrew Coley, and John Hardy.

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2011 Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 Qatar

2011 Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 Qatar

Strip the Volkswagen Touareg Gold Edition Study of most of its gold elements, add a few racing elements, and you’ll have Volkswagen’s second model to be introduced at the Qatar Motor Show. Dubbed the Race Touareg 3 Qatar, this vehicle is a genuine Rally motorsport vehicle similar to the vehicle used in the Dakar Rally except for the fact that it is entirely street-legal.

Made to push the limits with a 0-60mph sprint time of less than six seconds, the Race Touareg 3 Qatar is painted in the same "Magic Morning" white exterior paint as found in the Gold Edition Study, but this paint job also has a gold shimmer in it. The gold continues on with the gold 18-inch wheels from BBS and the gold "Race Touareg" signature placed along the side of the car, but that is where it ends.

Inside the SUV, Volkswagen has opted for the "Stealth look" inspired by the aircraft of the same name. To create this look, VW designers installed Recaro racing buckets and a roll cage in "Serpentino Grey Metallic," while the seat side supports and the door trim panels were covered in "Black" and "Pure Grey" Nubuk leather. The center seat panels were then treated to perforated Nappa leather in "Titan Black." The final touch for the interior of the Touareg is the Dakar victories listed on the aluminum center console, right next to the "Race Touareg" signature.

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