Dakar Rally will be the litmus test for Dacia, says CEO

The boss of Automobile Dacia believes getting the chance to compete at the Dakar Rally in 2025 will be a test of the brand’s “true robustness”.
Dakar Rally will be the litmus test for Dacia, says CEO

The Romanian automaker has announced plans to tackle the famous off-road event, as well as the World Rally-Raid Championship, with support from British motorsport firm Prodrive.

In a sign of just how serious CEO Denis Le Vot is about the project and ensuring it is a success, the Frenchman has drafted in nine-time World Rally Championship winner Sebastien Loeb, and Spanish female Cristina Gutiérrez Herrero who became the first Spanish woman in the car category to finish the Dakar back in 2017.

Running on synthetic fuel supplied by Aramco, both Loeb – who has seven Dakar starts to his name, and has finished runner-up in 2017, 2022 and 2023 – and Herrero will compete in the T1+ class in a car that is rumoured to be heavily influenced by the ‘Manifesto’ concept. Launched at October’s Paris Motor Show, the super compact, open air Sports Utility Vehicle has a wheel-at-each-corner stance and boxy proportions.

“Dacia and Dakar are a perfect match!” said Le Vot. “Not only is this a test of Dacia's true robustness, but it is also a showing of our commitment to low-carbon mobility. We are very excited to take part in Dakar with synthetic fuel technology. Dacia, alongside the best team and drivers in the game, are serious contenders for the rally.”

Before taking up the challenge of the 2025 season, Dacia has confirmed that a series of prototype vehicles are to be ‘put to the test as early as 2024 at the Rallye du Maroc’. In addition to the support and technical expertise it will receive from Prodrive, it is also going to ‘rely on the skills’ of parent company Renault Group.

“I am always so thirty for new challenges and I couldn’t miss this one,” said Loeb. “I’m so excited to be joining Dacia after Dakar 2024 and can’t wait to begin the adventure to achieve our common goal by 2025: to win the Dakar Rally.”

While all eyes are expected to be on Loeb, Herrero is not short on rally-raid experience herself having started the Dakar on seven occasions between 2017 and 2023 on top of being Spain’s all-terrain rally women’s champion.

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