|SA-Dakar 2013: Great Wall and Carlos Soua started preparations for 2013.|
After securing the best result ever for a Chinese manufacturer in the Southamerica Dakar Rally 2012, driving the Great Wall Motors SUV Haval to 6th overal position, Carlos Sousa has already confirmed his return to South America in 2013.
As readers could remember, there were highly rumours that the used "Great Wall Haval" was a re-built X-raid BMW X3CC. This month Great Wall and driver Carlos Sousa started with tests in Morocco.
"The test was a little longer than a year ago. The priority was to understand the changes that results from the new FIA technical regulations. We are now using a engine derived from the standard one, perhaps more reliable than the last, but certainly less powerful," explained Sousa. "We think, that the Buggys with petrol engines will mostly benefit from the changes in the regulation."
Sousa continued: "As other teams, we have to work in other car details like suspension, chassis and the cooling system to compensate the lack of power. This year we have more time to test."
Great Wall will again start with two rallycars, the drivers will be again Portugal´s Carlos Sousa and the Chinese Young Zhou. The logistical service and crew will be again bought by SMG Gache from France.
A change will be in the codriver of Sousa: Instead of the French Jean-Pierre Garcin, the Portuguese Miguel Ramalho (49) will navigate Carlos Sousa.
"It was an invitation which I can´t deny" said Miguel Ramalho. "It´s a good opportunity to return to Dakar within a factory Team and beside one of the best and most experienced rallyraid-drivers in the world."
The 2013 SA-Dakar will be the last year of the actual "X-raid" Haval SUV to collect some more experience. From 2014 the Chinese will start with a totally new car - and will try to reach the podium.
2012/10/25 | 20:31 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/GW