Proudly South African Navara ready for grueling 2010 Dakar
Boasting a CV of South African built Navaras finishing 4th, 5th and 20th in the 2009 Dakar Rally, Glyn Hall managed the planning, development, building and will be responsible for the support and maintenance of the PS Laser Racing Dakar Navarra driven by South Africa's Alfie Cox and his German friend of many years, Jurgen Schroder.
Although Nissan South Africa closed down the Midrand outfit that built and achievd top five finishes in the world's most daunting cross-country rally, less than a year after their admirable success, and whilst agreeing to supply the French outfit "Overdrive Racing" with vehicles for the the 2010 Dakar event, Glynn Hall fortunately continued his commitment with PS Laser Racing.
"We are fortunate to have Glynn's support crew onboard for this year's Dakar, although he will attend the start and the rest day in person, the team has all the experience gained over the past five years to assist us through the event,: said Alfie Cox after the car was loaded for transportation to Durban prior to shipping it to Buenos Aires.
"What Glynn Hall has achieved with his team, building race cars that finished in the top-five at a budget almost half that of its closest rival is absolutely astonishing,he is an absolute genius. I now own the race-car and look forward to the event. We know the car is more than capable, we must now prove that we can again get to the finish," commented Schroder when asked what he thought of the car.
This year the Dakar Rally returns to South America for the second running of the race outside of Africa, across some of the toughest terrain the world has seen. The 2010 Dakar Rally will start in Buenos Aires on New Year's Day and finish in Buenos Aires on 17 January 2010. It will once again lead through Argentina from the Atlantic Ocean, to the Pacific Ocean in Chile, whilst crossing the Andes mountain range twice at altitudes of 1500m above sea-level, the first at Fiambala at the end of stage 4, racing through the towering dunes of the notorious Atacama Desert. Five stages will be spent in the desert that is the driest on the globe, testing man for survival and machine for its ability to remain mechanically in tact whilst inching its way through the extremely dry powdery sand that sucks in wheels and chew away clutches and gearboxes.
Chile will host six stages of this year's event from Iquique in the north to the rest day on 9 January 2010 at Antofagasta where competitors will effectively spend three nights. Copiapo also sees the caravan twice, at the end of stage 5 on 5 January 2010 and again at the end of stage 9 on 10 January 2010.
The organisers divided the race into three acts as if it is a play, firstly refering to "Finding the right tempo" in the opening stages where the roads are very dusty and slippery. Driver skills will be of the essence and many of the tracks will be high speed rally-type stages.
Act 2 in the "Dunes of the Atacama" will require all the skill, energy, driving ability and mental strength that each competitor and vehicle has to offer. Then the final act "Road of contrasts" leads through the changing landscapes of mid Argentina, a lot like some parts of Southern Africa. Two very long stages will finally drain the last bit of energy competitors had left on the 3rd and 2nd last stages of the race. On the last three days total distances of well over 700km will be traveled each day before finally finishing in Buenos Aires on 17 January 2010.
A serious effort is made to pre-warn, educate and control the racing-mad Argentenian and Chile spectators this year, with pre-event documentation and television transmissions used as well pre-runners on the route ensuring spectator control, after a number of close encounters during last year's event.
Two outside favourite teams this year, will be the privately owned Mitsubishi Lancer Team with five cars racing for the JMB Stradale outfit with Dominique Seleys, former Mitsubishi Racing Team Manager overseeing everything. Team owner Nicholas Mislin will drive one of the cars with Carlos Sousa, Miguel Barbosa, Guilherme Spinelli and Orlando Terranova in control of the other cars.
The other dark horse team, is Robby Gordon Racing's Hummer crowd, overseen and managed by his father, Bob Gordon, himself a former a racing driver champion. The team drivers consist of American, Robby Gordon, Chilean, Carlo de Gavardo, previously a KTM motorcyclist and teammate of Cox, and American, Ronn Bailey. Gordon finished on the podium last year, ahead of the two Navaras, and behind the two VW Touaregs.
When looking at the top manufacturers VW and BMW racing against privately owned teams with Navaras, Mitsubishi Lancers, and Hummers, one realise just how stringent this race really is and you are left in awe when wondering why manufacturers such as Mitsubishi and Nissan withdraw, and yet private teams see the opportunity in investing in the Dakar. Toyota on the other hand has a long-standing package for private entries and support in the T2 car class, for standard vehicles.
Cox and Schroder are very excited about this year's 32nd Dakar and look forward to teaming up with their car on 28 December 2009 in Buenos Aires.
-credit: ps lrt