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Dakar 2008: Two Renault Kerax assistance vehicles on the trail.

Two assistance Renault Keraxes will be on call for the task, as last year. For 20 days, they will be at the beck and call of the thirty other Keraxes involved in the Rally, either in the race, in race assistance or straightforward assistance. A further 6 will be used by the race organisers, ASO.

No time for shut-eye, even for the assistance vehicles, as they will be covering approximately the same distance as the competitors, some 9,000 km all told. Once they arrive at the overnight camps, they will be spending their nights licking the wounds of the other 30 Keraxes. There’s never a dull moment on the Dakar Rally.

No-one will be suffering from boredom, then, and all can look forward to adventures ahead. We will be following them throughout the rally, asking them to give us their impressions from the front, giving us the chance to share in the adventure.

From January 5th to 20th, from Lisbon to Dakar, Renault Trucks will be present, with 30 Keraxes, either bought by teams or individual competitors wanting a piece of this legendary rally: Keraxes in the race or race assistance (T4), straightforward assistance (T5), ASO Keraxes and Keraxes entered by Renault Trucks to provide assistance to the other Renault Keraxes, transporting the parts and equipment needed for this type of rally.

From the data gleaned from previous rallies, the Renault Keraxes have been specially prepared, under the supervision of a specialist of the race, with the support of the Customer Adaptation Department (CAD) in Bourg en Bresse, now 80-strong, including 25 workshop staff who have been working two shifts since October 1st.

The Customer Adaptation Department prepares 1,000 vehicles per year, offering flexibility, speed and agility: real benefits for the Dakar Rally. This enables us to extend the applications of the Renault Trucks range to include specific uses for all vehicles: Renault Mascott, Renault Midlum, Renault Kerax... Their turnaround speed has meant the Renault Keraxes being prepared for the Dakar Rally in record time.

The vehicle dynamics have been revised, with new shock absorbers and customised springs. Another major feature is the centralised tyre inflation mechanism that is activated from the cab. Safari bar and branch deflectors, a xenon headlight rack, a safety cable to prevent the cab tipping over, a reinforced front axle, customised front suspension, solid coupling bar and Michelin 395/85 R20 XZL tyres will all help these two Keraxes to overcome all the rally can throw at them.

They will certainly need their 450- and 350-litre tanks to travel the 1,000 km per day on track and road. Inside the cab: roll bars, racing seats and 4-point safety belts will allow the driver and co-pilot to do their job under the best possible conditions of comfort and safety. All in all, some 300 hours of specific vehicle preparation. Having passed all the trials at the Valbonne test centre, the Renault Keraxes are ready to tackle the Dakar.

2007/12/21 | 17:48 CET | Editor: MR/Renault/hs

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