Stéphane Henrard has spent several years putting together a Beetle like no other: the DunBee
Attempts to finish the Dakar in a Beetle date back to the 1980s but have never been successful. Stéphane Henrard is back at the Dakar after a hiatus spent developing a Beetle capable of handling the dunes: the DunBee.
Everyone in Mexico has heard of the Beetle's exploits. However, Stéphane Henrard has spent several years putting together a Beetle like no other, and is now ready to embark on a quest in Buenos Aires he intends to finish two weeks later, via Córdoba, Copiapó, Iquique and Uyuni! All that hard work in the Belgian tuner's workshop has paid off in the shape of a Beetle codenamed DunBee, a portmanteau of "Dunes" and "Beetle".
Our buggy's got some experience under its belt and has what it takes to be fast and reliable.
Comeback kid Henrard is adamant that the technical challenge involved left him with no choice but to bide his time before bringing his latest brainchild onto the Dakar stage: "The DunBee made its debut in the Africa Race because it wasn't made for the South American Dakar of the first few years. Now I'm sure the car's mature enough and I also think the courses have changed. Our buggy's got some experience under its belt and has what it takes to be fast and reliable. Now it's time for it to prove its worth in the strongest field in the world of rally raid."
Stéphane Henrard has finished three times in the top 10 so far, which means the Beetle has a real shot at being in the mix. However, this time around it is all about showing the potential of an accessible buggy and proving that it can carve a place for itself at the Dakar in the long run. "The first step is finishing the race. I know it's a cute, fast, little car, but there are about fifty cars out there capable of doing just as well. On the other hand, I've got the feeling anyone would be proud of driving this car. It just makes you want to jump behind the wheel."