Tuesday 30 July 2013

Rally - Ford Back in Rallying

But don't get your hopes up. It's not the WRC. Ford's South African company, where the Ford Ranger pickups are built, are entering two locally built Ford Rangers in the 2014 Dakar Rally Raid, next January 5–18 in South America.

The trucks are being prepared by Pietermaritzburg-based Neil Woolridge Motorsport with assistance from Ford Motor Company’s Global Product Development group, while logistics will be handled by German-based South Racing. Similarly the driver line-up is made up of both international and local contenders including South American native Lucio Alvarez and South African Chris Visser.

Up here in the northern hemisphere, this type of rallying is not as popular as it is in the southern half of the globe, but earlier this year over 1 billion TV viewers watched the 2013 Dakar event with 4.6 million spectators making their way to South America to watch it. That's figures the WRC would kill for!

One of the Rangers is already complete and will start testing next month ahead of the 2014 Dakar Rally which will start in Rosario, Argentina on January 5 and finish in Valparaiso, Chile on January 18 after thirteen stages in 8,500 kilometres.

There's little detail about the pickup spec, although from the photo it looks as though the wheelbase has been shortened, but of particularl interest is what lies under the bonnet - an all aluminium 348 bhp, 5 litre V8 producing 560 Nm of torque. A six speed sequential gearbox will manage the 4WD transmission and the vehicle weighs just 25 kgs short of 2 tonnes.

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