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05 December 2012

Isuzu's D-Max is all set to take on the challenge of the 2013 Dakar Rally

Words by Gracey Maquiniana | Photos courtesy of Isuzu Motorsports
 
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Isuzu’s motorsport division has built their most powerful pick-up ever to compete in the world's toughest off-road race, the Dakar Rally. The team will race a purpose-built Isuzu D-Max in the T2 Cross-Country car class for production vehicles which will be piloted by Australian Bruce Garland with countrymen Harry Suzuki taking on navigator duties. Together, they will be attempting covering over 8,000 kilometers over the most difficult terrains of Peru, Argentina, and Chile in just 14 days; hopefully finishing in first.
 
The pick-up is based on a production double-cab D-Max 4x4 powered by a 3.0 liter common-rail turbo-diesel engine with 242 hp and 589 Nm of torque. That's 65 hp and 290 Nm more than the D-Max's most potent production model. Prepped to take on the most punishing terrains, it's mated to a rugged four-wheel drive system with a five-speed Hollinger gearbox and Xtreme rally clutch. This makes it possible for the Dakar-spec D-Max to run from 0 to 100 km/h time in just 7.0 seconds on dirt before it reaches a top speed of 190 km/h. In addition, the chassis has been fitted with aluminum skid plates while the body gets a full roll-cage to prep it for the hardest hits. And taking it through the South American desert are a set of 16x7-inch ROH Trojan alloy wheels with Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires.
 
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With all these modifications, the D-Max now weighs about 2,300 kg.
 
The Dakar Rally is no stranger to the Australian-based team. Back in 2009, they became the first diesel-powered pickup to finish the race using a previous generation D-Max.
 
The 35th edition of the Dakar Rally will start on January 5, 2013 in Lima, Peru (with one rest day on the 13th) and finish in Santiago, Chile on the 19th.