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Dakar -- Where to start?


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Merry Christmas and happy New Year.

I have been asked to support someone who wants to do the Dakar Rally. There is no expectation of being competitive. Completing the event in a reasonably well specified vehicle is the order of the day.

I have made it clear that 2012 is not viable as neither the driver or co-driver/navigator has done any racing of this nature.

The plan therefore is to build the teams competence and fitness etc over the coming two years and compete in an increasing number of events prior to the Dakar of 2013. We plan to buy a car to get started and over the coming months learn if it is suitable. If it is not then we would most likely build one that is.

We believe a Bowler or Rally Raid XLR or Desert Warrior is the type of vehicle we will go for.

Now to the questions.

• What UK and European events would provide the best training for both driver and vehicle?

• What vehicle specifications/compliance would be required for the local events?

• What licenses would be required?

• Links to anywhere that would be useful. Google has not been helpful due, I think, to all the different names given to this type of racing.

• Best place to look for a used competition car?

Zillions more questions but will keep it simple to start with.

Many thanks for your thoughts.


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I guess your starting point is who you would intend to provide support. Rally Raid will do a full package. Ben Gott has as much experience as anyone and would help you with a Bowler.

Budget iro £100k plus the car.

Not sure what licence but you should be able to find them in the Dakar (or Africa Race) regs. Other Cross Country regs are on the FIA website. You may have to do some UK events to get licence upgrades. In Europe the Bajas and Cross Country Rallies are the ones to go for.

Hope your friend has deep pockets!

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My understanding from a friend who serviced last year was that it's expensive to provide back up for one vehicle, but costs a similar amount to look after three entrants with the same support vehicles. The benefit then being that the costs are divided by three, you have more spanner men, more knowledge and more spares. However I can see the appeal of having a Dakar support truck on your drive :)

I would have a conversation with Ben or Keith Gott. My feeling is one way or another you will need help from someone who has experience of the logistics and there are only a handful of English/British people who have it.

I guess the downside is that once you've done it every other event would seem like small potatoes.

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