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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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The "Double Dutch" Citroen-Toyota - or "how to stand out from all the others".




By Robb Pritchard Problem: You are going to enter top-class off-roading competitions and you want your team to stand out from all the others. What do you do?

Possible answers: Manage to somehow win against all the odds. Design a striking livery or an eye-catching paint scheme, make good friends with (or bribe) all the media. All these methods are tried and tested, but if you are a Dutchman by the name of Rene Van Velthoven, then there is another way to get yourself noticed: Create an outrageous vehicle!

And they don’t come more outrageous than a bright yellow Citroen DS body mounted on a Land Cruiser chassis. As my doctor repeatedly tells me, there is a thin line between genius and madness and this bizarre beast has two 33’ BF Goodrich A/ts on each side of it - meet the D-Crosser!

So, the first question is why did they end up with such a bizarre hybrid monster?

"Well," says Rene with a confident voice that didn’t sound like someone who’d stopped taking their medication. "We had two aims to start with for whatever we were going to build. It had to be reliable and light. Our first car was an 88’ Land Rover with a 3.9 V8, but all we learnt in this car is how many things it is possible to break. And if you ask anyone what is the strongest and most reliable 4x4 in the world, if he’s not from England of course, he will tell you a Toyota Land Cruiser! We also run a Land Cruiser spare parts business, so the base vehicle is a HDJ 80."

"The Toyota body though, is designed for expeditions, so it’s just too big and heavy for sport. With my good friend Nard we run a Peugeot and Citroen workshop in Holland and Nard had experience with off-roading 2cvs before so this is why we started thinking like this. The 2cv on a Range Rover chassis has been done before though, but then we found a DS body and took it the idea from there. It’s a good way to combine the two companies!"

Two and a half years after the initial plan was conceived this labour of love is out and racing, but of course creating such a unique vehicle from two very different donors, threw up some unique problems for the team to solve. "The chassis and body didn’t fit together," says Rene. "But of course it was important to keep the original geometry of the Toyota suspension and drive train." So it was the body that ended up getting the brunt of the angle-grinding treatment.

"It was too long and the back of a DS body tapers thinner so that the rear wheel arches weren’t wide enough to cover the back axle. It took a lot of measurements and a lot of work to get this right because the DS has such a peculiar shape and we wanted to be sympathetic to the original curves. The way we did it was to cut it in half, shortened it to fit by losing the back doors and taking some length out of the roof and after a lot of fabricating widened the rear arches so that they fitted over the back wheels. This allowed us to create the side air scoops you see so that we can run ducts down to cool the rear axle."

The 4.2l Land Cruiser engine is not the lightest competition engine in the world, but remarkably the D-Crosser tops the scales at a very trim 1850kg. With a fuel pump from a 24 valve engine and an intercooler from a 100 Series Land Cruiser it also produces a serious amount of torque. The Mercedes fuel tank over the back axle and spare wheel shoe-horned into the boot gives a very enviable weight distribution ratio of 50/50 and so you start to see that this isn’t just some bizarre looking oddity trundling around at the back of the field for a bit of comedy effect. Despite what some people’s first impressions are it really is a well-designed out-and-out racer.

"But we’re still learning, both with ourselves as driver and co-driver and about how to get the best out of the car. Soon we plan to install a data logger so we can start to develop the set-up and we’ll also be upgrading the suspension to competition spec."

Currently the Dutch Championship is where the D-Crosser is being tested but it was built to FIA specifications so the Baja World Cup is on the horizon and so is one day the holy grail of off-road competitions - the Dakar Rally. "Why not? We know what we can do and what the car can."

But there is one issue standing in the way of Rene’s Rally Raid world domination: "We spent our own time and money to get to where we are now - but the bigger competitions are harder and we’ll need to take more support - which costs money that we don’t really have. And I’m not ready to sell any of my children for this just yet!"

As you can see from the photos, as beautifully eye-catching and curvaceous as the D-Crosser’s body is - it does look a little bare. What a fantastic place for some sponsor’s stickers!

2011/06/15 | 14:28 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/PRITCHARD












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




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




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




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




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




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




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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