Dakar : Six Nismo Challenge crews at the start
And they're off, for three weeks of intense competition. Three weeks, during which the six Nismo Challenge crews will have to surpass themselves in order to reach the shores of the Rose Lake, near Dakar. This year's event looks
like being difficult, both thanks to the chosen route, and potential the problems thrown up by the navigation regulations. One thing is certain : we will see some great sport.
The Nismo Challenge is complete, and will therefore enter six crews in the Dakar : Albert BOSCH / Josep PRAT (ESP), Tony MANRESA / Francisco FERRER (ESP), Pep BUSQUETS / Ferran MARCO (ESP), Josep ROCA / Gérard VIDAL (AND) and Christian LAVIEILLE / Marc BARTHOLOME (BEL). The sixth team taking part in the NISMO Challenge is the winner of the selection procedure put in place by ASO, organiser of the Dakar, and named Dakar Challenge. The winners were the Swedish duo, Tobias JOHANSSON, a young WRC driver, and Bo HOLMSTRAND.
The winners of this selection procedure, and the five other NISMO Challenge teams met up, a few weeks ago, in Morocco, where they were able to revise both the theoretical and practical aspects of driving and navigation. A good opportunity for the participants to get to know each other before the race gets underway in Lisbon. But also, and more importantly, another way to cultivate the « Spirit of Nismo »
With Spanish, Andorran, French, Belgian and Swedish drivers taking part, there is no doubt that the Nismo Challenge will have a really international flavour. During the training course in Morocco, one significant element surfaced quite naturally : the solidarity between the six crews. A major advantage if problems befall one of the teams.
Le NISMO Challenge is aimed at drivers starting off in rally raid, gentlemen drivers, and at all those, whether VIPs or not, who want to taste the adventure. Reading the eclectic list of those entered in this Dakar, this aim has been definitely fulfilled. Company directors, professional drivers or those just starting, everyone will start off with as much motivation and determination.
The NISSAN Patrol, the vehicle chosen for the NISMO Challenge is well tested in terms of reliability and performance, while remaining a relatively .easy. car to drive, forgiving the mistakes made by novice drivers. Important factors in terms of achieving the goals of all the participants : to reach the finish line. The version which has been chosen has a 4800 cc engine (6 cylinders in line, 4 valves per cylinder), single-disc clutch and electronic engine management. Five speed manual gearbox. Maximum speed : 180 km/h.
After the first tests in Morocco last October, Brice Fabry, the manager of the Challenge Project expressed his satisfaction : « There is always an element of chance in building a new car. It is true that by choosing the Patrol, we knew the qualities of this vehicle, but to go from there to the race version is a totally different story. Tot Curses, our preparer, understood our objectives and our philosophy, and has made a particularly homogenous vehicle, readily accessible to our clients. This vehicle will suit total beginners as well as those who already have some experience. Everyone will find what they need, depending on their level of driving. Quite voluntarily, we placed the emphasis on safety and the reliability of our cars. The objective is to allow our six teams to reach Dakar, having had the best possible time, and becoming part of the Challenge family. The NISMO Challenge is a state of mind, another way to think of motorsport.»
On the terrain, the NISMO Challenge will be surrounded by experienced professionals. The assistance fleet is made up of three Patrol cars and two trucks (one spare parts truck and a logistics lorry) which will provide transport for the engineer, mechanics, workshop and logistics specialists, osteopath and Team Manager. Moreover, a race truck (T4 category) has been entered and will be in the hands of the very experienced Joseph Petit, who will serve as rapid assistance on the track. Finally, a press car will be present on the Dakar, in order to allow the journalists and partners to follow the daily exploits of our six drivers. The management and the services provided by NISMO will be up to the level of those available in the top teams.
A real turn-key formula offering a complete package, as even before getting behind the wheel the race vehicle, each driver was able to take advantage of a practical course in Morocco, in order to gain familiarity with this area of the sport and the environment they would encounter. This training course lasted three days, and, as well as the driving side, gave the co-drivers specific training on navigation. A great opportunity to test the real conditions before the big day.
Press Release Nismo Challenge