Ford will be represented in the 2014 running of the Dakar Rally after Team Ford Racing confirmed it would field two South African-build Ford Rangers in the event next year.

The new machines are being prepared by Pietermaritzburg-based Neil Woolridge Motorsport, with assistance from Ford Motor Company's Global Product Development group. Logistics will be handled by German-based South Racing.

The driver line-up is made up of both international and local contenders including South American native Lucio Alvarez and South African Chris Visser.

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"We are extremely proud to be sending these South African-built Rangers to the 2014 Dakar," Jeff Nemeth President and CEO of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, said. "Dakar is the ultimate test of man and machine and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate with a phenomenal team comprised of local and global expertise."

One of the two FIA Ford Rangers is already complete and will start testing this August. The second is under construction with planned completion at the end of October.

Alvarez will be joined by Ronnie Graue at the wheel of one Ranger as they embark on their fourth assault on the infamous event, while Visser will be partnered by Japie Badenhorst for his first Dakar entry.

"The Dakar is a truly international showcase of off-road vehicles," Dave Schoch, Group Vice President and President, Asia Pacific, said. "We are pleased to have put together a global team that has exceptional knowledge of the event - as well as being capable of performing extremely well racing the Ford Ranger, which is built at our assembly plant in Silverton.

"There is much work to be done in the coming months. The Dakar is no small under taking but we have an exceptional team of hardworking and dedicated individuals who will be working round the clock in the coming months preparing for the start of the Dakar early in the New Year."