Aussie crews ready to plunge headlong into Dakar

thumbAustralia’s two-pronged Isuzu Motorsports team is putting the final touches on its campaign for the world’s toughest offroad rally with Dakar set to start in South America this weekend.

Bruce Garland and Harry Suzuki will pilot 2012 Isuzu D-MAX ute while Adrian Di Lallo and Steve Riley will use a 2008 model ute.

Di Lallo (WA) and Riley (VIC) will be in charge of a machine which is proven in Dakar conditions after it was taken to 11th outright position in the 2009 edition of the world’s most captivating and gruelling rally.

Both crews spent around seven hours at a specially built facility outside Lima, Peru, completing pre-race checks ahead of the two-week torture test.

“I couldn’t believe it when Adrian and Steve said they were there for seven hours yesterday but we’ve just spent about the same amount of time,” Garland said.

Lima is the starting point for the event for the first time since Dakar made South America home in 2009 after abandoning its original home in Africa.

“The people of Lima have really turned it on,” Garland said.

“They’ve built this huge area (Circuito de Playas at Magdalena beach), a mini village for all the documentation and vehicle checks as well as the official start.

“It’s been designed to be really spectator-friendly so the crowds are huge. It’s time-consuming to get through it all but the atmosphere is fantastic.”

Garland is returning to the event for the first time since crashing off a sand dune in 2011 when he fractured a vertebra. Two months later he suffered a heart attack in Melbourne and subsequently underwent five bypasses.

The Dakar kicks off with a timed special stage of 13km to determine the final starting order with 242km of timed distance following on Sunday.

A total of 14 Australians will take part in the Dakar. Here is the list:

AUTOS

Bruce Garland / Hiroaki Suzuki (Japan) : Isuzu D-Max

Geoff Olholm / Jonathan Aston (GBR) : Toyota Hilux

Adrian Di Lallo / Steve Riley : Isuzu D-Max

 

MOTORCYCLES

Matt Fish : Husqvarna TE 449 RR

Simon Pavey : Husqvarna TE 449

Ben Grabham : KTM 450RR

Troy O’Connor : KTM 450 Rally Replica

Rod Faggotter : Yamaha 450 Rally Replica

Warren Strange : Honda CRF450X

Todd Smith : Honda CRF450X

Andrew Scott : Honda 450 Rally Replica

 

QUAD BIKES

Paul Smith : Honda TRX700XX

 

TRUCKS

Alex Aguirregaviria (ESP) / Jordi Comallonga (ESP) / Richard Hayes : MAN

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