Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mini and Volvo to Enter Dakar?? Wah-What?!?

Yes, while Nissan has eliminated their factory offroad efforts, while Ford sleeps, Toyota naps, GM (well, who cares what GM does...) drools, and Mitsubishi scrambles, two of the more unlikely auto manufacturers are getting in on the cross-country rally and Dakar game.

Just in the last few days both Mini (supported by its BMW parent) and Volvo (via Volvo of Sweden) have announced big time Rally-Raid teams.

Mini's effort is actually up and running as of this moment and will compete in just a few weeks in the 2011 Dakar in South America with the Mini All4 Racing team and experienced Dakar driver Guerlain Chicherit, sponsored by Monster Energy and as part of the BMW X-Raid team.  The Mini Cross-Country vehicle is a bit shorter and lower than the BMW X3s that make up the rest of the seven car X-Raid team and it should be very competitive right out of the box.

The Volvo team will be a two car effort and will not begin racing until later in '11 competing in the FIA Cross Country World Cup and then in the 2012 Dakar as well.  Volvo of Sweden is looking to create a stir using an all female driver tandem of Tina Thoerner and Jutta Kleinschmidt.  The vehicle will be an XC60 and driven by a 2.4L engine.

Given my taste for unusual and underdog racing efforts, you know I'll be pulling for these guys!

Mini team info...
Volvo team info...

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