|SA-Dakar Rally: The "real" car heroes - Xavier Foj wins T2 production class.|
Who is the "real" Dakar winner in the cars? For sure, Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret with their incredible X-raid Mini All4 Racing - but, be honest: In some competitions the chances are the same - for everybody. Not in the Dakar. You need a T1 prototype car to be the overall winner. You need a very big budget, manpower, logistics... So for "Mr. Smith" no chance to win the Dakar? No!
17 cars started in the "T2 production class" - this means, cars of this category must be near to the real production, only security- and some "tuning"-equipment is allowed. So no carbon-fibre doors - pure metal. No plexiglass - real glass. No power-tuned engine - serial engine. You eventually could image, how much more difficult it is to drive with a nearly serial car through the dunes - with less power and more weight...
The rules are the same, for everybody. Very simple. The car must be officially homologated and nearly the original series, equipped with the necessary security devices. But that´s the point: Only some manufacturers homologated their cars, and the choice is not very big. That´s why most of the T2´s were Toyota - only 3 Mitsubishi tried to fight against them.
From 17 cars at the start in Argentina only 8 reached the finish line in Lima - and only one Mitsubishi (Totani/Totani, 6th). The "Toyota Auto Body" factory team from Japan sent their 2011 winner Jun Mitsuhashi and the well experienced navigator Alain Guehennec to defend the title with their Land Cruiser 200 V8. But a crew from Spain was faster: Xavier Foy and Jordi Cervantes.
After a spectacular fight during the production cars, the Spanish crew won the race with their Land Cruiser 155 in 57:25:41 hours - in front of the Auto-Body factory Toyota of Jun Mitsuhashi / Alain Guehennec (+59:33 mins) and Al Heraiz/Al Kendi from the Emirates (Land Cruiser Prado, +04:07:17).
4th became the French Land Cruiser 100 crew Girard/Simonin (+13:56:05) in front of the Dutch team Wauters/Feryn (Land Cruiser 200, +07:14:34 but 7hrs are penalty).
So remember: If you want to drive the Dakar and want to win with low budget, try the T2 production class. And if nobody will report about your win, we do. Promise.
2012/01/16 | 21:31 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/HS