The 2010 Dakar Rally begins tomorrow, January 1st. The 32nd running of the Dakar will lead off-road competitors from around the world through 14 grueling stages and 5,600 treacherous miles of asphalt, sand, and gravel in the short span of 17 days. This year’s event will cover some of the toughest roads and trails in Argentina and Chile. Volkswagen hopes to dominate with their 300hp TDI powered Race Touareg rally trucks as they did in 2009 and even have an American (Mark Miller) driving one of them. Worth following: Dakar Rally 2010
Anticipation of the 2010 Dakar led me to reflect on the 2009 running of the Rally Dos Sertoes. Rally dos Sertoes is a Brazilian adventure rally regarded by some as the second toughest stage rally in the world behind the Dakar. Last June and July the 2009 Rally dos Sertoes saw 128 competitors navigate 3,100 miles of varied Brazilian terrain from jungle to plains with multiple water crossings mixed in between.
Unique to the 2009 Rally dos Sertoes was the participation of a Mahindra truck privateer effort. The non-factory supported effort was lead by veteran rally driver Ricardo Augusto de Souza Campos (better known as Rasc), and sponsored by Brazilian Mahindra dealer Mahindra-Govesa and Mahindra by Bramont (the Brazilian manufacturer of Mahindra products).
Mahindra-Govesa and Rasc prepared a Mahindra Scorpio pickup (equivalent to the TR20 the US will be getting) for the competitive T2 class for stock production cars and trucks. Class rules require the mostly stock vehicles to be equipped with an FIA legal roll cage, some chassis reinforcement, rally seats/harnesses, and a safety fuel cell. With much surprise, Rasc along with his son (Rasquinho), finished the rally third in class, bettering 65 other vehicles from Ford, Chevy, and Toyota. The Mahindra was 1 of only 29 vehicles in the class who finished the demanding rally.
For a great video summary of the rally and highlights of the Mahindra effort, click on the link to the well done video. Mahindra at Rally dos Sertoes
The Mahindra pickup makes a pretty sweet looking race truck, and it certainly got the job done. There is no Mahindra competing in the 2010 Dakar, but maybe we will see more of Mahindra in international off-road racing in the future. If we are lucky, maybe we will even see a Mahindra pickup prepared for the Baja 1000 next November.
Here’s to a great 2010, and good luck to all the brave souls racing the Dakar and all international off-road racing!
Sources: As Hyperlinked