2012 Dakar is in Full Race Mode

Dakar logo
The 2012 Dakar Rally is in full swing now, as the first of 16 stages is complete. In the "Car" category where all the automotive entrants sit — "Truck" is defined as a full-size commercial vehicle in the Dakar Rally — there are several Toyota Hiluxes, even more Volkswagen Amorak competitors, two Mitsubishi L200s and Honda Ridgelines, and separate Toyota Tundra, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier teams.

This year, the Rally threads through some of the toughest sections of South America as it navigates through Argentina, Chile and Peru. You can find all the action, team info and real-time updates at Dakar.com.

Some of the most impressive racing so far has been among the team of four custom-modified, Monster-sponsored Mini Countrymans; Robby Gordon's Hummer team; and the huge number of teams using the stout Amorak turbo-diesels. We especially like the giant commercial rig Tatras in the Truck category as they blast through the same extreme terrain that that the smaller racetrucks and motorcycles have to overcome.

The Dakar Rally is scheduled to finish Jan. 16 in Lima, Peru.  

Dakar route

Dakar monster minis

Dakar 71-b

Dakar 31-b

Dakar 35-b


No Raptor pics? What has this site become. LOL

Maybe they couldn't get a pix of one without a bent frame.

@uh huh LOL

There was a Raptor entered in the Dakar.
I was looking at the Dakar entries in the car class and here is an interesting one:
Pictures of the Ram in action

Here is the Raptor:
KLEIN Ivan ()

We have a Mexican team with a Raptor and a Netherlands team with a Ram 2500.

@Mark Williams - can you use your industry contacts to find us some news. It would be real cool to see how these 2 trucks make out.
The Ram is running a Cummins diesel.
Guts. Glory. Ram - I wonder if they use that slogan in the Netherlands or is this an Icelandic team?
The Ram team would make a cool story.

@Mark Williams. Not so much Tatra but Kamaz from Russia that is the team to beat in Trucks. You maybe scratching your head on what a GINAF is? It is a specialized HDT Vocational truck maker from the Netherlands, that uses a DAF engine re-branded as PACCAR. They makes 4X4 , 8 X8. 10 x8 configurations.
There are Tacoma's ; one F150 Raptor; a Dodge Ram 2500; two Jeeps.
In the modified Category the Hilux's are running the 4.6 Lexus Gas V8, the Mini's a 300hp 3 Litre diesel, but they weigh close to 4000lb, The Hummer H3 a 6 Litre Chevy. two entered one for Robby Gordon and the other for Arab driver
Nasser AL-ATTIYAH from Qatar, He also took the bronze in trap shooting at the last Asian games and was 4th in the Olympics.
The GREAT WALL Chinese Pickup, is in modified production, not a a "hot rod" like the Mini, Hiluxes or Hummer. It is currently 8th overall.

Oxi isn't fooled by the tough-looking "Tatra" trucks, he knows it's impossible to do any "real" four-wheeling in an oversized heavy tank.

@toycrusher84 I doubt too many people in North America know much about the manufacturers in the truck class so here are their websites in English.


MAN and Scania have a majority shares owned by Volkswagen but are very separate companies. IVECO is much more successfully globally than its FIAT parent. Renault Trucks, not Renault Defense is owned by Volvo.The other makers are specialized manufacturers.

All those trucks are posers! If you want to see a REAL off roading truck look no further than oxi's taco! It has the best approach/departure angles, gets at least 40 mpg, and with his new springs has a one ton payload!

That Tatras truck is pretty cool!

@Lou: The Dodge Ram is not marketed in The Netherlands. It is much to big and inefficient for use as a pick-up truck (car license only allows up to 3.5T) and to small and thirsty to be a big-rig (license category 3.5T to 50T)

@Robert Ryan: Generally GINAF use DAF parts, you are very right. Their main entrant (Wuf Van Ginkel, part owner of GINAF) however uses a C18 CAT engine...

GINAF mainly sell heavy duty chassis for construction use (tippers / mixers / etc) with 5 axles (50T GVW) or widespread tandem / tridem chassis to take advantage of the Dutch road laws (kind of like the way US rigs have the front axle pushed up way forward to increase their GVW)

@UK-Diesel-Driver - is the Dodge Ram an Icelandic team? as I thought Iceland was part of the Netherlands?

@Lou. It is a separate Scandinavian country. Only about 250,000 people live there.

How many miles is this race?

@Brad 5,600 miles approximately over 3 countries

Any bets on the VW Toureg winning again? They have pretty much been unstoppable in their class.

@mhowarth Volkswagen is not running the Dakar anymore, they have proved themselves in the event. They are now concentrating on the WRC. That is why you see Peterhansel running a Mini, DeVilliers running a Toyota Hilux.

Personally, I'd take a Kamaz just for the challenge of getting in and out of the cab... :-D

@toycrusher84 When you get used to those COE's they are no big deal.

Too bad they retired the Toureg from competition :(

I am not particularly a VW fan but they had a hell of a winning platform and was probably a big boost in the "toughness" credentials that they have badly needed.

It is interesting that many of the fastest car guys used to race bikes ie. Peterhansel.

When they "retire" from the Bikes they take up cars i.e Alfie Cox.
Peterhansel started as an Olympic gymnast, then winning about 7 times, I think, the original Paris to Dakar in Africa race on Bikes and about 4 times in the cars..
Guess that gymnastic training came in handy surviving the bumps of the Dakar.

The only category that is missing is the "Towing a Caravan/Travel Trailer". Bill Stroppe towed an English Caravan in the 1970 Baja. He was hitting 85mph towing the thing, it weighed only 1500lb.

I so wish they aired the Dakar on Speed or ESPN or something. I miss watching it!

Some good old Dutch boy's in a Ram 2500? LOL

I am sure the Craptor in this race finished dead LAST.

@Kansas Bob - last year, Sue Meed's Raptor won its class if for no other reason than surviving. The Hummer of Robby Gordon DNF'ed and that was a full on trophy truck. Robby Gordon is back and there is another Hummer (teammate) which is run by an Arab from Qatar. There is some obvious irony in that one.
It isn't a race that is over in a day or two. Dead last would still be a major accomplishment because less than 1/2 of the entrants complete the race.

kansas bob - looks like the Dakar racers know the same thing work truck guys know. Use the Fords and Dodges in the tough stuff and leave the Chevy's on the pavement. Longest lasting trucks on the road because that is the only place they last.

45 Toyota's are entered in the race, by far the most popular make in Dakar!

They include 2 Hino's...

A Tundra which was beating the Raptor and Ram 2500 so far...

3 Tacoma's...

Quite a few FJ Crusiers which the few Jeeps will never catch... (hint: IFS vs straight axle fronts)

The Toyota teams are led by the Imperial Toyota group, one tough team and currently sitting 2nd overall through Stage 4!




This link works for the Imperial Toyota tv commercial...


Show us what your Japanese Taco can do. Get into Dakar race!

My Tacoma was made with UAW labor in the U.S.!

Toyota is named after the founder of the company...

Tacoma is named after a city in Washignton...

The Tacoma was designed in California at Toyota's Calty facility...

I would rather do a Baja race where you get one shot and the terrain is brutal!

@Oxi - are you simply stating that Baja is your preferred race or that Baja is the tougher of the two races?

Stop living in the past.

Get out there and enter a race this year. Let's see what you're made of.

Latest standings:
Stage Win and places
Seems to be a lot of the BMW Minis at the the top

Overall standings.
A Chinese Pickup is in 7th, it runs in the modified production class with a 300hp 3 litre diesel.

@ Oxi - I missed the Tundra entry. My bad.
CASALE Francisco (CHL)
Chilean team.
Unfortunately, there were no links to a team web site, or any photos.
I counted 9 Hilux's. 10 if you include 1 listed as a prototype. That is one I'd love to have a look at.
There were 2 Tacoma's.

I find the fact that there are 3 teams running full sized pickups very interesting. The Ram diesel is the most fascinating one of the bunch. Goes to show that full sized trucks are not useless offroad.

"Goes to show that full sized trucks are not useless offroad"

They have their uses:
You need at least a F350 to tow this 24ft Caravan

A F450 and a Traveller Caravan

A F450 and a Bushtracker Caravan


A F250 and Caravan

A F650 waiting Conversion
"This truck is a must ..2004 f650 western hauler body complete with storage bins. c7 cat engine 6 speed auto low kms.this truck is here in australia and ready for conversion"

@Robert Ryan - great pics. I like the ground clearance and the fact that those caravans look much more robust than most of the ones I see. I'm planning on buying one. Most of the good camping spots are on gravel roads and more remote. I'd be willing to pay more for such a unit. I'll have to do a search for similar "offroad" oriented units. I've seen tent trailers designed for extreme use and that is it.

The Market is pretty limited in NA as far as Off Road Variety RV's go. Those Caravans are specifically designed for extreme off road,: Low pressure airconditioning to keep out dust and water; IRS suspensions.
A Lotus Caravan
"Looking for a Kedron Travel Trailer. Saw one of these deer hunting last month in Minnesota. A family who had moved here from Australia, brought their travel trailer (or caravan as they called it) with them. The most durable and quality made RV I have ever seen. Puts any Airstream to shame. Looked around for a dealer in the US, no luck so far. Any ideas other than import from Australia? "
Kedron Caravans You Tube
Less severe
Crossing a River
Crossing a River

@Robert Ryan - our 'caravans" would turn into a pile of rubble if we used them like those video's you provided. Most of our stuff is made for catering to people who camp at full service RV sites, or go park it at "the lake" for the summer and it doesn't move. They crawl down well graded gravel roads at 15 mph in fear of shaking their campers apart.
Again - thanks for the links.

Robby Gordon was disqualified for cheating on the 10th Stage. He will continue on, but his appeal will take two months for it to be heard by FIA. Nani Roma won the stage with Peterhansel 2nd and Gordon 3rd.

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