Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mahindra Begins Sertoes Rally, Intends to Race Dakar in 2011

The 15-day Rally dos Sertoes begins today in the wilds of Brazil. Rally dos Sertoes is considered one of the toughest long distance adventure rallies in the world, arguably second only to the Dakar Rally.

Last year, Ricardo “Rasc” Campos, put a lightly modified Mahindra TR20 pickup on the podium in the first adventure rally a Mahindra vehicle has ever competed in (unofficially). Last year’s Mahindra entry was a quickly pieced together effort funded by Rasc, the Brazilian Mahindra factory (Mahindra by Bramont), and Mahindra dealer Mahindra-Govesa. Rasc, his son “Rasqhino”, and their Mahindra TR20 endured 3,100 miles over 11 days to finish third in class. A pretty impressive debut for any nearly stock pickup.

For 2010, a more serious team effort has been put together for Sertoes. Two new Mahindra trucks have been built to compete in the Production class. A Mahindra Scorpio SUV will be piloted by Rasc and again co-piloted by 17-year-old Rasqhino. A Mahindra TR40 pickup will be piloted by off-road racing veteran, Joshua Paniago.

In addition to the two new trucks, it appears that last year’s podium finishing TR20 will be brought back and raced by Felipe Paniago.

Both new race trucks are based on the latest production versions of the Scorpio and the TR40 pickup currently being built in Brazil. Production class rules stipulate that the vehicles retain production powertrain and suspension. Accommodations must be made for standard FIA dictated safety equipment such as a full roll cage, fuel cell, racing seats, and harnesses.

Reports also state that at least one of the trucks (the Scorpio?) has been prepared with Dakar Rally rules in mind. Rasc says that he hopes to race a Mahindra in the 2011 Dakar Rally in January. Sertoes may serve as a pre-run for their Dakar effort.

With proven veteran racer Rasc in the driver’s seat, and a serious two-truck effort (plus last year’s truck), the likelihood of Mahindra’s first ever rally victory is a distinct possibility. MP will follow the action and do our best to translate the Portuguese reports (thank you Google translator). Stay tuned.

Correction: Only two Mahindra trucks have been entered in the 2010 Rally dos Sertoes. Last year’s third place in class Mahindra TR20 pickup is once again being run this year, this time with Paniago/Paniago as driver and navigator. A newly prepared Mahindra Scorpio is being piloted by last year’s third place driver and navigator, Campos/Campos. A third truck noted in the post (a Mahindra TR40) is not being raced.
Source: Mahindra Brazil

No comments: