The legend among racing— the Paris Dakar—is not only a race; it is an adventure in which everyone pushes their limits, being it the people or machines. But there were vehicles in the history of the race which resembled a folly more than a serious racing machine. Let's have a look at the list of the most interesting ones.
We're starting with the big one. The giant among the racing cars is one of the most spectacular cars in the history of the Dakar. The twin turbo Audi 3.0 V6 TDI engine surrounded by an enormous tubular chassis was able to run at about 300 bhp. However, the car faced serious problems during the 2015 rally and completed only the first stage of the race. Its electrical issues were fixed, but only after another 20 km, the car broke down ultimately.
The small model of the French manufacturer was used by Marreau brothers in 1979. The car was rebuilt on 4x4, but the engine remained the same as in the factory models. However, the R4 reached the 5th place in its first race, and only one year later the brothers were taking bronze medal!
Rolls - Royce Corniche
Rolls - Royce is a synonym for the expensive brand of vehicles, but in 1981 Thierry de Montcorgé decided that he would use it to race in the famous Dakar. The car was rebuilt to withstand the desert conditions, and the 4WD system was added. De Montcorgé was, however, disqualified for making an illegal repair after initially finishing 13th.
Jules II Proto
Montcorgé didn't have enough, so three years after his unsuccessful attempt with Rolls - Royce he entered the competition with the six-wheel Jules II Proto. The car was powered by a 3.5 liter Chevrolet V8 engine and its name was borrowed from a perfume of the sponsor Christian Dior. However, the third stage was fatal for the car as its chassis broke and de Montcorgé had to retire from the race.
Although Porsche cars are famous as unbeatable on the road with more than 30,000 victories on the account, it is not so well known that they also competed on the famous Dakar rally. In 1984, the modified 911SC fought well and even won. Next year they entered the race with the new 959 model and had to retire due to technical problems. Only one year later with the revamped edition of the car, Porsche climbed the first two places which meant a great success for the brand of asphalt.
The 2007 Dakar was witnessing the spectacular view when Marques brothers raced in a Citröen from 1963. Although it was reinforced to withstand the harsh conditions of the desert, the car´s power output was only as high as 100 bhp. The brothers had to retire on the fourth stage due to a failure of a rear suspension.
Probably the strangest car in the Dakar history. The Belgian driver Hervé Diers raced in a mobile chip van. He rebuilt a 200 bhp Toyota pick-up and finished 58th in the contest. Diers also fried more than 7 kg of frites for the bivouac after completing the first stage. Sometimes, it’s not really all about being first, is it?
The history of Dakar is full of crazy attempts with crazy cars, but that's what makes the rally special. Everyone can participate, and even those who are underestimated can win!
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