Despite earlier issues in the Rally with fuel vapor locking on the SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HST Gordini, the issue that put Gordon and his team out of the 35th Dakar Rally was a compromised air filtration system.
Tire manufacturer BFGoodrich secured its 12th Dakar triumph – its 10th in a row – in Lima, Peru on January 15th, 2012. Victory on the world’s most gruelling cross-country rally went to Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel (ALL 4 Racing MINI) who took his personal score on the event to 10 wins.
BFGoodrich’s maiden Dakar success dates back to 1999, and the company hasn’t been beaten on the world’s most exacting off-road rally since 2002.
The 2012 event proved particularly challenging thanks to a menu of more than 4,000 kilometresof against-the-clock action between the New Year’s Day start in Mar del Plata, Argentina, and the finish in Lima, Peru. The route featured a punishing cocktail of rough and rocky trails, plus Chile’s sandy Atacama desert and the awesome dunes of southern Peru which competitors discovered for the first time this year.
The Dakar regulations dictate the use of a single type of tyre for the entire route. BFGoodrich’s principal partners in the T1class (MINI, Toyota, Mitsubishi, etc.) chose the All-Terrain+ tire which is reputed for its durability, versatility and performance.
The American brand faced stiff competition this year, notably in the form of the Hummers driven by last year’s winner Al-Attiyah and the USA’s Gordon. These powerful machines were entered in the so-called ‘Open’ class which permits the use of wider and bigger-diameter tyres (+13cm), as well as a system that permits tires to be inflated and deflated from the cockpit. This solution is especially useful when crossing terrain which alternates between stones and sand dunes.
That, however, didn’t prevent the ALL4 Racing MINIs and their BFGoodrich All-Terrain+ tires from claiming a one-two finish thanks to Stéphane Peterhansel and Spaniard Nani Roma, while South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers and his new Toyota Hilux made it an all-BFGoodrich podium.
Today’s result sees Stéphane Peterhansel establish a new record for the highest number of Dakar wins, and the Frenchman only suffered from loss in tire pressure four times during the entire two-week competition which was run at an extremely quick pace from start to finish. “Most of these punctures were due to bad luck, including one where a sharp branch pierced a hole in the sidewall, while another was caused when the rear tyre was hit by a big rock that was dug up by a front wheel. I was very happy with my BFGoodrich tyres. The team’s engineers worked hard on the chassis, suspensions and tyres this year to make sure that the three functioned in perfect harmony. I would like to thank my co-driver Jean-Paul Cottret, everyone in the X-raid team and all my partners. They all deserved this win!”
Alister McRae has tackled the Dakar Rally the past few years in the ProDakar McRae Buggy and has finished what is considered one of the most grueling off-road races, if not the most grueling, in the world. The race – which previously ran from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal – moved to South America in 2009 due to security threats and now travels through Argentina, Chile and Peru. With more than 5,500 miles covered during the race, it’s an enormous feat just to finish. For 2012, McRae is upping the ante, however, looking to be the first team to race an electric vehicle at the Dakar.
This new electric McCrae buggy will feature a custom-made Lithium Ion batter designed to recharge to an amazing 90% in 15 to 30 minutes. The press release from the team provides more information:
The new evolution will be powered by a 54KW/h Lithium Ion battery pack through a PM motor with 2000Nm(but it will be limited to 120 NM) of Torque and 200 KW power rating with a weight less than 40 KG … An aerodynamically optimized body is been developed in conjunction with energy recovery shock absorbers that will turn kinetic engine from the ruts and bumps in to electrical energy.