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Headline: Hans Stacey on MAN TGS prepares to defend his title

MAN's preparations for the 30th Dakar Rally are now in full swing. A total of 580 participating teams figure in the provisional list of contestants from the organisers - a new record in the history of the Rally. 245 motorbikes, 20 quads, 205 cars and 100 trucks will be setting off on the 9,273 kilometre trek on 5th January 2008.

For the fourth time in succession MAN will be the most commonly driven truck brand in the Dakar Rally - 37 of 100 trucks registered bear the lion on their radiator grille. Beside these about 50 MAN trucks are taking part outside the competition to transport mechanics, spare parts and workshop equipment from one bivouac to the next for the well-known works teams or ambitious private teams.

The Dakarists are eager to see how title holder Hans Stacey will perform this time round. After his resounding success in the Dakar 2007, where he crossed the finishing line in Dakar at the wheel of his MAN TGA race truck more than three hours ahead of the runner-up, in 2008 the Dutchman will be rolling up to the starting line with a new team. Following the withdrawal of Tridec managing director A.J. van Genugten the "MAN with a Mission 2" team now belongs to MAN Truck & Bus B.V. and is managed by former MAN Marketing & Sales Director Fred van Putten.

Staceys new MAN TGS, which under the new FIA rules is classed as a "kit truck" and is based on the series-produced TGS, features a whole series of technical modifications compared with the TGA truck race version of 2007: the most important change is that the D28 engine has been replaced by the new D26 Common Rail unit, which proved for the first time that it was fit for the desert in Franz Echter's race assistance truck in the Dakar 2007. Echter drove the MAN TGA 18.480 4x4 straight to tenth place.

The Dakar Rally 2008 sees an important change in the rules for trucks. For the first time the organisers are making a distinction between kit trucks, for which components can be put together from the truck manaufacturer's product range, and so-called standard trucks, which apart from the safety equipment must be largely identical to the series-produced versions.

As last year, the second kit truck owned by the Dutch MAN Dakar team will be piloted by French driver Philippe Jaquot. In the Dakar 2007 he rode to an outstanding sixth place in the overall truck rankings. With their MAN TGS 18.480 4x4s the German MAN test driver Franz Echter and Dutchman Geert Verhoeven will be taking care of rapid service along the route.
Dakar premiere for the new MAN TGS 18.480 4x4 BB

In the last few years MAN has gained an excellent reputation among the Dakar teams as a manufacturer of extremely reliable and powerful all-wheel-drive trucks. Since 2005 the brand with the lion emblem has dominated the truck caravan in the desert classic. And no wonder: the MAN trucks consistently had the lowest failure rate of all manufacturers. That is why well-known teams such as Volkswagen Motorsport, KTM, Mitsubishi or BMW X-raid put their trust in MAN - some of them have been doing so for many years and are doing it again in the Dakar 2008. In the course of this year the Dakar teams ordered a total of 35 MAN TGS trucks, and so the shiny radiator grille of the TGS will be a common sight in the dunes.

The MAN TGS 18.480 4x4 BB competed in the Dakar Rally for the first time in 2007 as a TGA. Weighing in at 9,500 kilogrammes, this "light" truck is powered by the D26 Common rail engine with a capacity of 12.5 litres, from which it generates about 500 hp. Its high torque of 2,350 Newton-metres at 1,200 to 1,800 rpm ensures some remarkable acceleration and impressive pulling power. During the Rally the TGS 18.480 4x4 BB can, as a standard class truck, transport a payload of tools and spare parts weighing up to three tonnes. The MAN TGS 18.480 4x4 BB is the successor to the MAN LE 18.280 4x4 BB, which in the last few years had become the most-used assistance truck in the Dakar Rally.

This year, for the first time, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge offered the customers buying the new MAN TGS Dakar trucks the opportunity to get to know their vehicles before the start of the Rally and test them under realistic conditions in southern Tunisia. The MAN Factory Support Team set the Rally drivers some difficult navigation tasks, explained the necessary checks and maintenance jobs on the vehicles and practised fast recovery of a truck with the contestants. Driving on the sandy, high-speed track at up to 150 km/h rounded off the programme. And, finally, Peter Ocker, manager and coordinator of the Dakar activities at MAN Nutzfahrzeuge, and his squad gave the teams the benefit of their wealth of experience, as they too have competed in the Dakar Rally several times.

In the Dakar 2007 a total of 24 all-wheel-drive trucks from MAN were registered for the actual race. As in 2005 and 2006 the Munich-based truck brand therefore dominated the field of starters. Beside these a large number of MAN LE 2000, FE 2000 and TGA went along as service trucks and made up the logistical backbone of many Rally teams. To support the numerous works and private teams with MAN vehicles in their struggle to beat both the clock and the harshness of the steppes and the desert, MAN Nutzfahrzeuge sent along its own service vehicle in the Dakar 2006 for the first time.

The six-wheeler MAN TGA 26.480 6x6 BB with three experienced mechanics on board and a load of special tools and all commonly needed spare parts was at the camp each evening to provide help and advice if any problems had come up. The teams greatly welcomed this new service facility, as it enabled them to concentrate on their actual task of racing or providing assistance. Apart from this they were able to cut down their lown logistics input for transporting spare parts, in some cases considerably. In view of this positive experience the MAN service truck was there again for the Dakar 2007 too.

In the 30th Dakar MAN Nutzfahrzeuge is for the first time sending two MAN TGS 26.480 6x6 BBs into the desert as service vehicles. Despite the fact that there are more MANs in action than ever before, they will ensure that all teams with MAN trucks will once more be able to rely on the advice and assistance of the MAN service crew and a fast supply of spare parts.

The Dutch Exact-MAN Team took on the dominant prototype race trucks from Kamaz and co. in the Dakar Rally for the first time in 2005 by entering two TGAs in the race competition. Hans Stacey notched up some good results in the various stages for a long time until he was stopped by a defect. The second vehicle was withdrawn from the competition by the team after an accident during the fifth stage. Hans Stacey still drew a positive conclusion at the time: "Although we weren't able to complete the Rally, we are very satisfed. The trucks weren't ready until 14 days before the start, and we'd had hardly any opportunity to test them. In effect we were doing the testing during the Rally. The fact that we wre often among the top ten in the daily rankings proves just how strong our team is."

In the course of 2005 further technical developments were made in the two TGAs and - in contrast to the previous year - the vehicles were subjected to an extensive programme of testing before the start of the next Rally. Beside modifications to the running gear and brakes, a few more hp were coaxed out of the D28 engine, but no compromises were made in terms of stability.

In the Dakar 2006 the Exact-MAN Team then presented impressive proof of the potential of the TGA race trucks: with victories in five stages and second place in the truck competition overall the team from Son near Eindhoven pulled off a great success. Over the more than 9000 kilometres of the 28th edition of the desert classic from Lisbon to Dakar the two TGA race trucks with Hans Stacey and Franz Echter at the wheel put on some thrilling neck-and-neck races with the prototypes from Kamaz, Hino and Tatra.

An accident on the ninth day cost Stacey and Echter several hours and prevented the two teams from doing even better. In a dramatic race to catch up, during which Stacey won on four days in succession, the successful businessman and impassioned rally driver managed to move up from third to second place in the truck competition despite the time lost. Echter helped Stacey to put his truck, which had overturned, back on its wheels and removed parts from his own TGA so that Stacey could resume the fight for a place on the rostrum as quickly as possible. As a result Echter dropped back to twelfth place, but he had moved back up to eighth by the time he crossed the finishing line in Dakar.

Finally, in the Dakar 2007, the "Flying Dutchman" pulled off the victory that he had been pursuing for so long: Hans Stacey drove his MAN TGA race truck across the finishing line with an impressive lead of 3:10:52 hours over the runner-up. This great success was due to a consistently strong performance from driver and engineering alike: Stacey won five of the 13 stages in the truck competition and led the field from the fifth day onwards.

The second MAN TGA race truck - also owned by the Exact-MAN-Team - was piloted by Philippe Jacquot (F). He achieved an outstanding sixth place in the truck contest. Although the new TGA 18.480 was used as an assistance truck for the Exact-MAN Team, Franz Echter still managed to drive it home to tenth place. For further information on the Dutch MAN Dakar Team visit [ ].

2007/12/20 | 11:24 CET | Editor: MR/MAN/hs

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