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Dakar Rally 2015: The real Odyssey before - or how to be at the Start in time. | 29.08.2014


Defender Challenge: Rd 5 of the series by Bowler takes place this weekend. | 29.08.2014


Rally dos Sertões: Honda HRC riders finished first part of the marathon stage. | 29.08.2014


Rally dos Sertões: Top 10 cars mixed after hardest stage - Spinelli still leader. | 28.08.2014


Rally dos Sertões PHOTOS: Impressions from the Marathonrally in Brazil (77). | 28.08.2014


Rally dos Sertões: Two X-Rally NWM Ford Ranger in good 2nd and 4th position. | 28.08.2014


Baja Poland: Poland to welcome 112 competitors in Baja Poland this weekend. | 28.08.2014













































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Donaldson CC: Ford Ranger proves it´s "Built Ford Tough" in South Africa





A standard production Ford Ranger has taken on and conquered one of the most punishing rounds of the South African "Donaldson Cross Country Championship", proving beyond doubt that it lives up to the brand´s reputation of being "Built Ford Tough".

The project Ranger Double Cab 3.2 4x4 contested Class E of the "Ford Dealer 400", the 7th round of the local championship which took place near Thaba Nchu in the Free State recently.

The vehicle was prepared for the race by veteran off-road racer Henri Zermatten, and was equipped with nothing more than the requisite safety equipment, off-the-shelf 4x4 shock absorbers as well as improved under-body protection. For the rest, it was as standard as the Ranger you find on any showroom floor.

Driven by Car magazine Associate Editor Sudhir Matai on his cross country debut, with Zermatten making his own debut of sorts as a navigator for the first time, the Ranger completed the race distance of almost 350 km without any incidents or mechanical woes - despite the event being recognised as one of the roughest in the SA championship.

Noted for the exceptionally rocky, mountainous and totally unforgiving terrain, the punishing route claimed its fair share of victims during the race, with 18 of the original 60 starters failing to finish.

"I can´t believe that a standard Ranger can withstand such a beating and come through completely unscathed," an elated Matai stated when they crossed the finish line after no less than 7 hours and 20 min of racing - in the process claiming 3rd position in Class E. "Cross country racing is by far the toughest driving challenge I´ve experienced, and the sheer punishment on car and driver is unparalleled. It proved, without doubt that the Ranger truly is one tough vehicle!"

Mark Kaufman, Ford´s Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Service, commented: "Entering a stock Ranger into a challenging cross country race showcases that the Ford Ranger really is tough. We undertook this project with every confidence that the vehicle would finish the race, and we have to commend Sudhir and Henri for the great job they did in showing off the Ranger´s abilities, particularly as the vehicle was prepared in such a short time, and it was Sudhir´s first cross country event. Despite this, the team brought the Ranger home in one piece, and with a medal for third place in Class E to boot."

Indeed, even the rest of the racing fraternity was surprised that the standard vehicle was entered in the first place, never mind completed the race. Matai was particularly appreciative of the camaraderie, support and welcoming nature of the organizers and fellow competitors, and was impressed at the level of interest shown in the Ranger.

Zermatten was equally enthralled by the Ranger´s first outing, particularly as he had less than two weeks to prepare it for the Ford Dealer 400. The Ranger received a bolt-in roll cage which was then welded in place, along with the necessary safety belt and seat mountings, race seats, intercom, as well as the navigation system comprising a GPS and rally odometers.

Under the skin it was equipped with a safety wiring harness with obligatory external kill switch, along with rock sliders, sump and diff guards and a set of BF Goodrich All-Terrain race-spec tyres. The only modification to the suspension was the use of off-the-shelf aftermarket Old Man Emu shock absorbers.

"I´m delighted how the Ranger has performed, as it has thoroughly impressed despite the incredibly tough route and the fact that it is completely standard," Zermatten said, making his return to cross country racing after a five-year hiatus due to work commitments.

"We had a fantastic time, and even used the air-con for most of the race," he stated, with some amusement. "On this event there is simply no room for error, and although we took it fairly easy while finding our feet on the prologue and the first 182 km loop, we were able push much harder next time around and made up around 12 sec per kilometre on the shortened 122 km second lap."

Zermatten believes that there is great potential for a genuine standard production vehicle class in local cross country racing, particularly with costs spiralling out of control in the established categories.

2013/11/03 | 22:06 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/STEENEKAMP











Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results CARS & TRUCKS SS05 on Thursday | 29.08.2014 03:33 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results BIKES & QUADS SS05 on Thursday | 29.08.2014 03:24 |




Dakar Rally 2015: The real Odyssey before - or how to be at the Start in time. | 29.08.2014 02:40 |




Defender Challenge VIDEO: Impressions of the series by Bowler Rd 4 Wales | 29.08.2014 01:31 |




Defender Challenge: Rd 5 of the series by Bowler takes place this weekend. | 29.08.2014 01:27 |




Rally dos Sertões: Honda HRC riders finished first part of the marathon stage. | 29.08.2014 00:47 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Mitsubishi Petrobras Team crews SS04 Wednesday | 28.08.2014 17:10 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Official no comment rally video of SS04 Wednesday | 28.08.2014 17:08 |




Rally dos Sertões: Top 10 cars mixed after hardest stage - Spinelli still leader. | 28.08.2014 16:33 |




Rally dos Sertões PHOTOS: Impressions from the Marathonrally in Brazil (77). | 28.08.2014 04:57 |




Rally dos Sertões: Two X-Rally NWM Ford Ranger in good 2nd and 4th position. | 28.08.2014 04:48 |




Baja Poland: Poland to welcome 112 competitors in Baja Poland this weekend. | 28.08.2014 02:20 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results CARS & TRUCKS SS04 Wednesday | 28.08.2014 01:56 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results BIKES & QUADS SS04 Wednesday | 28.08.2014 00:44 |




Rally dos Sertões: KTM’s Marc Coma hangs on to overall lead in dos Sertoes. | 27.08.2014 23:48 |




Rally dos Sertões: Paulo Gonçalves clinches victory in SS04 - the longest stage. | 27.08.2014 23:32 |




Desafío Inca: German manufacturer battle - X-Raid Mini vs SAM Mercedes CC | 27.08.2014 19:26 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results CARS & TRUCKS SS03 on Tuesday | 27.08.2014 18:33 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results BIKES & QUADS SS03 on Tuesday | 27.08.2014 18:29 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Mitsubishi Petrobras Team crews SS03 on Tuesday | 27.08.2014 17:55 |




Rally dos Sertões: Both Ford Rangers reached top speeds above 175 km/h. | 27.08.2014 17:07 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Onboard with X-Rally Ford Ranger Baumgart / Cincea | 27.08.2014 16:35 |




Rally dos Sertões: Stagewin for Toyota´s Varela in S3 but Spinelli still leader. | 27.08.2014 16:19 |




Rally dos Sertões: Goncalves - "Hope to ride hard without making mistakes" | 27.08.2014 16:00 |




Rally dos Sertões: Marc Coma wins again in Bikes and remains the leadership. | 27.08.2014 15:35 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Mitsubishi Petrobras Team crews SS02 on Monday | 26.08.2014 19:14 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Official no comment rally video of SS02 on Monday | 26.08.2014 18:57 |




Baja Poland: X-raid with four Mini All4 Racing - chase for World Cup continues. | 26.08.2014 17:21 |




Baja Poland: Overdrive Racing with five Toyota Hilux and Nasser Al Attiyah. | 26.08.2014 16:45 |




Rally dos Sertões: Mitsubishi´s Spinelli / Haddad the new leader in the cars. | 26.08.2014 05:17 |




Rally dos Sertões: Gonçalves wins SS2 in Bikes but Coma still overall leader. | 26.08.2014 05:02 |




Rally dos Sertões PHOTOS: Nice impressions from the first days in Brazil (79) | 26.08.2014 04:53 |




Baja Poland VIDEO: Official trailer of the Baja Poland FIA CC World Cup 2014 | 26.08.2014 04:32 |




Donaldson CC: Test of character for the teams at South African Vryburg 450 | 26.08.2014 03:49 |




Rallyraid: Kamaz Master legend Ilgizar Mardeev tragically died in an accident. | 26.08.2014 03:09 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results CARS & TRUCKS SS02 on Monday | 26.08.2014 02:30 |




Rally dos Sertões RESULTS: Overall results BIKES & QUADS SS02 on Monday | 26.08.2014 01:59 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Driving onboard with Overdrive Toyota Hilux of Verala | 26.08.2014 01:46 |




Rally dos Sertões: Honda´s Paulo Goncalves wins second stage in the bikes. | 26.08.2014 01:28 |




Rally dos Sertões VIDEO: Official no comment video of SS01 Sunday (crash) | 26.08.2014 00:56 |




















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