The Dakar Rally is one of the most prestigious rallies in the world, with car makers and independent teams all vying for glory in one of the world’s harshest racing conditions. French automaker Renault, known for its racing heritage, has decided to field two heavily modified Duster SUVs at Dakar 2013. Apart from featuring the Renault Duster moniker, the Dusters that’ll compete in the 2013 Dakar Rally are completely different beasts from the production spec variants of this SUV. Hit the jump to watch the Dakar spec Renault Duster SUv bashing dunes and hurtling across some very inhospitable rallying terrain.
The Dakar spec Duster is powered by a 3.6 Liter V6 petrol engine that outputs 306 Bhp of peak power. This engine will power all four wheels of the Dakar Duster through a 6 speed sequential gearbox. Limited slip differentials are standard on the Dakar-spec Duster while the suspension is heavily modified to handle the rigors that the rally will throw at the SUV. The Dusters will be piloted by two teams made of Argentinian rally drivers and navigators. Renault will enter two Dusters for the 2013 Dakar Rally. While one Duster will be driven by Emiliano Spataro with Benjamin Lozada handling navigation duties, the other Duster will be driven by Jose Mauricio with Garcia Malano being the navigator.
Success at the Dakar Rally is something that car makers across the world clamor for. Mitsubishi is one car maker which has won many editions of the Dakar Rally with its Pajero range of SUVs. Apart from Mitsubishi, even Volkswagen has won a few titles at the Dakar Rally with he Touareg SUV. Renault powered buggies have also won the Dakar Rally a couple of times. Apart from these car makers, the Dakar Rally has played host to some very eclectic machinery as well. How about a Porsche 911 winning the Dakar in 1984?
This huge variety in cars winning the Dakar Rally is due to the rally being open to both amateurs as well as professionals, and this is quite unlike most other rallies across the world. The Dakar Rally also has the motorcycle class, a class that has been dominated by the KTMs and BMW off road motorcycles. The rally plays host to a dedicated truck class as well where Tatra and Kamaz trucks have proven to be the prominent winners. The 2013 Dakar Rally will be held in South America with the rally commencing in Lima, Peru and ending in Santiago, Chile.