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Stéphane Peterhansel has achieved his tenth Dakar victory, this time in a MINI All4 Racing. A seasoned veteran of the two-week long race, Peterhansel won his first Dakar at the age of 21.
His victory car this time around was a MINI All4 Racing built by German tuner X-Raid and was designed to look like a MINI Countryman even though it shared almost no stock parts with the production countryman. The All4 Racing weighed in at 4,100-lbs and featured a 3.0L twin-turbocharged diesel powerplant with 315-hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. The engine was mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox while the car itself packed tons of high-tech race parts including water-cooled rear brakes.
The 2012 Dakar Rally took place over 5,500-miles through Peru, Chile and Argentina. Second place went to Nani Roma, who was also in a MINI All4 Racing and third place went to Giniel De Villiers in a Toyota Hilux.
Volkswagen won’t be competing in the 2012 Dakar Rally, but the company will still provide support vehicles to event organizers.
For the third year in a row, the company will provide 40 vehicles including 30 Amarok pickup trucks. Despite not competing, those trucks have to be tough enough to handle anything the course can throw at them— everything from canyon crawling to desert dune running.
Those attending the event can look forward to meeting some notable guests, like F1 legend Jacky Ickx who, won the Dakar in 1983 for Mercedes-Benz, will be giving off-road racing lessons.
The race starts at Mar del Palta, Argentina and runs just short of 5,600 miles through Chile to finish in Lima, Peru.
The rally started back in 1978 and was originally called the Paris-Dakar rally due to its geographic location. However, due to safety concerns, the event was moved to South America in 2009, where it has remained to this day. The event is now simply called the Dakar rally, and for the 2012 event will cover 8000-kilometers (4968-miles). The route for the 2012 event will start from the Atlantic coast in Argentina to across South America and ending the event in Peru.
Each contestant will be required to cover 10% of the distance each day, and since the route will include vast desert landscapes, craggy canyons, impassable pebble plains and the Andes mountain, it will not be an easy trek. While only 50% of the competitors complete this grueling rally, it still attracts a vast array of trucks, bikes, quads and cars to this annual event.
One of the cars making its debut at the Dakar will be the Mini ALL4 Racing by the X-Raid team. They are entering five of these new rally cars which feature a 315-hp, 3.0-liter diesel engine. The all-wheel drive ALL4 is based on the new Mini Countryman.
Only time will tell if the Mini will prove victorious at the Dakar. The event starts on January 1, 2012.
Nothing can test a truck’s true mettle quite like thousands of miles of sand. For the 2012 Dakar Rally, the British Excite Rally Raid Team plans to enter the most brutal competition on Earth using three specially modified versions of Land Rover‘s new Evoque.
Powered by a 3.0-liter turbo diesel straight-six engine by BMW producing 275-hp and 479 lb-ft of torque and mated to a ZF six-speed gearbox, the Evoque will be hand-built by the wizards of RaBe Race Cars, whom possess a very long history of providing Dakar raiding hardware for many teams.
British Excite Rally Raid Team, as the name suggests, will be a completely British crew. The drivers are Martin Rowe, Andrew Coley and John Hardy. Keep a look out for British Excite at the 2012 Dakar Rally in January 1, 2012.
GALLERY: British Excite Rally Raid Team Land Rover Evoque
The president of Mitsubishi, Osamu Masuko, is “very interested” in producing electric Formula 1 cars, with an eye to mutually compatible technology with their road cars. The governing body of Formula 1, the Federation Internationale de lÀutomobile, announced this month that it is working with representatives of the European Commission to develop a racing series for electric vehicles.
Mitsubishi has a long motorsports heritage predominantly in rallying but it withdrew from its main focus, the Dakar Rally in 2009. ”I’m said to be unenthusiastic about motor sports,” Masuko added, “but with electric vehicles, I want to promote them.”
Mitsubishi introduced its i MiEV (Mitshubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle) in 2009 and will be sold in the United States. Masuko explained that “The development costs for electric vehicles seem much lower than for gasoline cars and it would also contribute to the technological development of cars that are already on the market.”
Mitsubishi is developing a post 2013 successor to its highly regarded Lancer Evolution, and is considering a high-performance plug in hybrid build on the next generation Lancer platform coming out in 2013. The new model would utilize technology previewed on Mitsubishi`s PX-MiEV concept from 2009.
[Source: Inside Line]
German firm X-Raid is already preparing a MINI Countryman, a vehicle that’s been on sale for less than a month, for competition in the upcoming Dakar rally.
While most of the photos show a finished product, the vehicle prep shots show a pretty thorough re-working of the biggest MINI, as well as a gorgeous custom made rollcage. Sadly, specifications aren’t part of the article, and we’re left guessing on how much power the thing makes. A long travel suspension and skid plates are also visible to the naked eye.
Gallery: MINI Countryman Dakar
While MINI‘s WRC aspirations have garnered a lot of attention among fans of the automaker and racing enthusiasts, the British brand’s off-road ambitions won’t be limited to just one series. The German off-road X-raid Team has just announced it will run the new MINI All4 Racing car in the annual Dakar Rally, which now runs in South America, rather than on the traditional continent of Africa, due to security concerns.
The MINI All4 Racing car is part of a seven car team by X-raid, the largest one-team effort ever put forward in the legendary race.
Driving the Countryman-styled off-roader will be French driver Guerlain Chicherit and co-driver Michel Périn.
With a body made of carbon-kevlar, power comes from a twin-turbo diesel engine that makes 315-hp and 524 ft-lbs of torque.
Purpose-built for the series, X-raid touts numerous advantages of the MINI All4 Racing car over the X3 CC the team ran last year, including a lower center of gravity and a body than than be entirely changes in 30 minutes – ideal for allowing easier access to important mechanical parts underneath.
The 33rd running of the Darak Argentina-Chile starts this January 1st.
The Dakar rally doesn’t get a lot of love in North America, but some of the machinery used in it is extremely badass, and the Volkswagen Race Touraeg 3 is no exception.
Looking like a Touraeg’s homicidal cousin, the Race Touraeg 3 is build for racing on sand dunes and features the appropriate jacked-up bodywork, special BF Goodrich tires and a 2.5L TDI engine making 296 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. The Race Touraeg can sprint to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, not bad for a massive truck.
With 10,000 km of testing behind it, the Race Touraeg 3 should be competent enough to give Volkswagen yet another Dakar title in 2011.
Gallery: Volkswagen Race Touraeg
Hit the jump to read the official press release
With the demise of Mitsubishi’s Dakar rally program, Volkswagen has stepped in to fill the void left by the iconic Pajero rally truck. The Race Touraeg has performed admirably, but Volkswagen driver Carlos Sainz demanded that the Race Touraeg 3 be a significant step forward from previous iterations.
While the Race Touraeg 2 was mechanically sound, the third generation car will sport serious improvements to the aerodynamics. Spy photos taken in the Alps show the car looking downright mean when devoid of any sponsorship liveries, but we’re at a loss to explain what any of the aesthetic details also double as aerodynamics aides.
The Race Touraeg 3 is expected to make its competition debut in the Silk Way Rally in Russia starting in September, 2010, after which it will enter the Dakar rally in January.
Hit the jump to see the full press release
“Is that hashish in your race suit, or are you happy to see us?” was probably what Spanish police said to drug smugglers at the helm of a fake Dakar rally truck. The graphics-laden and off-road prepared truck had blended in with support trucks along an official rally route, in hope of delivering its load to the Spanish island of Ibiza in time for the summer party season.
Just what did police find? More than 1,760 lbs (800 kg) of cocaine, 15,000 ecstasy pills, marijuana, guns, and $64,000 U.S. in cash.
“The vehicle had been totally transformed to adapt it to its supposed participation in the competition as a support truck, with publicity and logos of the event painted on its side,” read a police statement.
Its drivers were fully kitted out in race suits, with official-looking route maps and race documents to hide their motives. In total, seven suspects have been arrested, all from Spain.
Since we have no footage of the criminals in action, after the jump we’ve placed a video of a Kamaz Dakar truck hooning in the snow with ex-F1 driver David Coulthard at the wheel.
*Note: the above image is of a Dakar support truck, not the actual one used in the case.
As a brand, Hummer’s time in the spotlight is pretty much over, although if there is something that can save the brand it might be a core group of enthusiasts and a strong motorsports background. While Hummers are best known for being excessive street machines, unlike a lot of SUVs, they are actually incredibly capable off-roaders.
And so despite the brand’s near disappearance for the marketplace over the past year, Hummer was in attendance at the 2009 SEMA Show displaying two special edition street machines and two off-road racing trucks – including the incredible Robby Gordon Off-Road Dakar Hummer.
Gordon has raced a Hummer in off-road events since 2008, and last year places third overall in the grueling Dakar Rally. This year, the Hummer team and Gordon have their sights set on first and it looks like they have the truck to do it.
Hummer claims the race-truck is based on an H3, but with what appears to be an entirely carbon fiber vehicle, we’re not sure there’s much of the factory car left. It’s a tube-chassis vehicle and while it is built for serious off-roading, Gordon will be comfortable inside thanks to a fully enclosed cockpit with air conditioning. As for the engine, Hummer will only say that it is based on a production GM V8.
The 2010 Dakar Rally starts January 1st and we’ll be sure to check in on how Gordon and his crazy carbon Hummer are doing.
GALLERY: Robby Gordon Off-Road Dakar Hummer
Official release after the jump:
German Mercedes tuner Carlsson has just completed its first full line of performance products for the new C-Class, giving the car a more dynamic drive, with a stunning new look and more than enough power.
Carlsson hasn’t released specifics on the modifications made to the engine but you can be sure there are more than just simple bolt-ons and an ECU tune (as those modifications make up the standard CK63 package. The CK63S package makes a dramatic increase in power from 457hp to 565hp. Torque is also up significantly with 505 ft-lbs – an increase of 63 ft-lbs.
The result of all this power is a 0-62 mph time of just 3.8 seconds!
To help keep all the new-found power under control, Carlson employed the help of former DTM-racer and current Dakar rally driver Ellen Lohr. The modified C-Class now rides on a set of specially tuned springs and shocks.
Helping the car to achieve its maximum handling potential are a set of Carlsson 1/16 Ultra-Light wheels that measure 19×8.5-inches up front and 19×10-inches in the rear. And as for the straights, the Carlsson aero kit, (including front and rear bumpers and a small trunk spoiler) are made of both polyurethane and carbon fiber, ensuring maximum downforce at the car’s new top speed of 186 mph.
GALLERY: Carlsson CK63S
More on the Carlsson CK63S after the jump: