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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.
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.
In Finland, rally champion Juha Kankkunen has cracked the 200-mph barrier on ice in a Bentley Supersports, setting a new world speed record on ice.
Atop the frozen Baltic Sea at temperatures of minus 30 degrees, he drove the AWD, W12-engined, biofuel-powered Bentley Continental Supersports convertible to a record 205.48 mph, which bested his own previous world record of 199.83 mph set at the same location in 2007.
“The last time, I narrowly missed the magical 200 mph mark in a Continental GT,” he said. “When I heard about the Supersports I was determined to go record breaking again with the Bentley Boys.”
One of the goals of the British/Finnish team was to keep the car as stock as possible: modifications included a roll cage, low-resistance Pirelli winter tires, front and rear spoilers, and a bumper-mounted parachute. Juha Kankkunen fought crosswinds and sudden blizzards on the 10-mile track, atop 27 inches of ice, to complete two runs in opposite directions. The speed was verified by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Of course, Kankkunen is no stranger to racing in extreme conditions. Since he started rallying in 1978, he has over 23 World Rally victories under his belt, been crowned World Champion four times, and won the Dakar Rally outright in 1988. Finland breeds rally champions, so the saying goes, and off the coast of Finland Kankkunen seemed within his element.
Bentley is planning a limited edition 100-car run of the Supersports to reflect this achievement, in case well-heeled buyers want to tackle the record on their own.
Hit the jump to read the official press release.
Do you enjoy watching the Dakar Rally? If so, then you probably have day dreamed about driving those awesome off-road racers to the mall or to work. Only problem is, while these racers have minor details like the shape of the headlights and names in common with models you’d find in showrooms, technically, they’re completely different.
Take the Volkswagen Touareg for example. The one that races in the Dakar Rally has little in common with the one you’ll find in the showrooms. That, however, could change if they decide to put the Race Touareg 3 concept into production.
Unveiled at the Qatar Motor Show, this concept marries the madness of the rally machine with some civility from the road going version. Thankfully it is more like the rally car than the normal showroom model.
Not only does it look like the racer that just won the 2011 Dakar rally, but it has the same powertrain also. So you get the same 2.5-liter turbo-diesel engine that produces 296-hp and a whopping 442 lb ft of torque. Power is sent to all wheels via a 5-speed sequential gearbox that has a three-plate ceramic clutch and three limited slip differentials. In other words, this vehicle doesn’t even know the meaning of getting stuck.
It’s quick too, 0-60 mph takes just 6.1 seconds and tops out at 117 mph (due to those large dune bashing tires, otherwise it would have been even faster).
While the cockpit of the race versions have no interior trimming whatsoever, the Race Touareg 3 concept has a fully finished, well appointed interior.
And now the bad news, this awesome concept is just a concept. There are no production plans yet, but if everyone bugs VW enough, they could put it into limited production. Hey, these things have happened before. So if you would like to park one of these on your driveway, tell those Germans at VW to make one for you and your friends.
Watch out Ford Raptor.
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
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:
Citing the global financial crisis, Mitsubishi Motors has just announced that it will pull out of all cross-country rally races for 2009, including the Dakar Rally. In a statement the company said that, “The sudden deterioration of the global economy made it necessary for the company to focus its resources more tightly.”
The news comes just after Mitsubishi announced it expects to post a 60 billion yen ($674 million) loss for the past fiscal year.
The move away from Dakar is particularly shocking considering the company’s strong presence in the event and its winning history. In 26 entries Mitsubishi has won the Dakar Rally 12 times , including seven consecutive victories from 2001-07.
Involvement in rally racing has also been a major part of Mitsubishi’s engineering and marketing efforts, with this grueling form of motorsports proving to be a valuable format for developing and testing new technologies (particularly 4WD and AWD technologies) – something that Mitsubishi often relies on in it’s advertising efforts.
Mitsubishi now joins the growing ranks of auto manufacturers that have pulled from motorsports over the past few months. Recently both Subaru and Suzuki pulled out of the World Rally Championship, Honda left Formula 1 and Audi announced it would not be competing in the American Le Mans Series.
Official release after the jump: