|Australasian Safari: Garland/Suzuki and Isuzu takes third place in Australia.|
A week of bad luck and a shortened final day has left five-time Australasian Safari winner Bruce Garland wondering what might have been after finishing third outright in the 2010 event. Garland, navigator Harry Suzuki and their Isuzu D-MAX finished Day Seven of the 3600km trek through outback Western Australia behind V8 Supercar driver Craig Lowndes and Kees Weel (V8 Holden Colorado) in first place and Darren Green and Wayne Smith (Nissan Patrol) in second.
"Staurday was a really good day and the D-MAX is just awesome in the sand," says Garland after a total of 55.3km in four stages, around the southern WA coastal town of Esperance.
The Sydney-based Isuzu Motorsports crew won three of today’s four stages and clawed back some time over the shortened route [previously set down as 86km], but not enough to end up where they wanted to be.
"We’ve had some really bad luck with punctures this week, and a broken drive shaft, but that can be the nature of this event. You just keep on pushing and do the best you can and that’s what we’ve done. "The car went extremely well. It’s really good to drive and we are extremely pleased with it. We’ll take a bit of a break on the way home and then look forward to whatever the future holds."
Garland and Suzuki have equalled their result of last year - third outright and first diesel - in a 2011 Dakar-spec D-MAX. This new ute is lighter, faster and better handling than its predecessor but still based around the D-MAX’s steel cab and chassis frame.
Under the bonnet is a 3.0-litre turbo diesel Isuzu engine that has been tweaked to race. It produces approximately 630Nm of maximum torque and around 192kW of peak power, or an increase of 75 and 60 per cent, respectively, on the standard Isuzu D-MAX engine.
More than 100 competitors - including 25 in the auto division - entered this year’s Safari, which started with a ceremonial start in Perth on Friday, September 17, with full competition underway on September 19. Just 14 cars finished today.
For more information on the Isuzu Motorsports International Off-Road Race Team go to [ www.isuzumotorsports.com ].
2010/09/28 | 14:33 CET | EDITOR: MR/HS/ISUZU