Our favourite no-nonsense car company, Dacia, is cooking up a Dakar Rally entry. It won’t be going it alone, however, as the Romanian company will “draw on in-house technical expertise” of British motorsport firm Prodrive, whose Hunter Dakar machine has come second two years in a row with Sébastien Loeb at the wheel.
On that subject, nine-time WRC champion Loeb is going to be driving for Dacia, along with Cristina Gutierrez, his teammate in Lewis Hamilton’s ‘X44’ Extreme E squad. “The success story between Sébastien Loeb and Prodrive will now continue at the wheel of a Dacia,” the Romanian company says.
Dacia doesn’t exactly have a wealth of motorsport history to draw upon – there’s little to choose from between the budget-oriented Logan cup and the famed, privately entered Logan that took on the Nurburgring N24. The Renault subsidiary has been increasingly pushing a message of adventurousness, though and it claims that, “the Dakar is a perfect illustration of the balance between the ‘rational’ and the ‘emotional’ that lies at the heart of the Dacia’s DNA.”
Dacia isn’t entering until 2025, so technical details are pretty much non-existent at this stage. We do at least know it’ll compete in the ‘T1+’ category, which involves ‘Improved Cross-Country Vehicles’. No models are mentioned, but we’d imagine the next Duster being used as a basis for the creation. A Duster has been previously used as the starting point for a Dakar entry, although that time, it ran under Renault branding. Whatever Dacia and Prodrive cooks up, it’ll be juiced by synthetic fuel from Aramco. Testing will begin in 2024.
Denis Le Vot, CEO of Dacia, has this to say of the news:
“Dacia and Dakar are a perfect match! Not only is this a test of Dacia’s true robustness, but it is also a showing of our commitment to low-carbon mobility. We are very excited to take part in Dakar with synthetic fuel technology. Dacia, alongside the best team and drivers in the game, are serious contenders for the rally.”
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