A legend at the Dakar Rally
Buggies have always been a familiar sight on the Dakar Rally and specialist Jean-Louis Schlesser even took this sort of vehicle to overall victory in 1999 and 2000, giving BFGoodrich its first taste of Dakar success in the process.
type of tyre most commonly used by these two-wheel drive machines differs from the Rock T/A employed by the 4x4 prototypes. "There are no restrictions concerning patterns for the buggies and the maximum permitted overall tyre diameter is 890mm compared with 810mm for the 4x4s. The rear tyres are also bigger and wider which is an advantage over sand. The bigger the tyre, the more it spreads out the load," explains Dominique Bravy.
The BFGoodrich Baja T/As that equip the majority of the two-wheel drive buggies are produced in the United States where they have carved out an enviable record on the country's leading rally-raid events. The Baja T/A is a commercially available tyre.
Privateers and amateurs In addition to the factory outfits, BFGoodrich's partners on the 2007 Dakar include top privateer teams like Nissan Dessoude which also use competition tyres.
However, many of the amateurs use tyres from the BFGoodrich catalogue, although their objectives are clearly different. While the pros are looking for outright victory or class honours, the amateurs above all want to reach the finish in the Senegalese capital.
"The preparation of these cars is not as extensive so they can easily compete on standard BFGoodrich products like the Mud Terrain and the All Terrain.
Their numbers include certain Japanese Toyota crews who use production tyres in an attempt to avoid mechanical problems."
80% of car entries with BFGoodrich This year again, 80% of the car entries on the 2007 Dakar will run on commercially available BFGoodrich tyres. Teams are responsible for transporting and fitting their own tyres (approximately 70 per car for the entire event). The scrap for overall victory will be fought out by the factory cars which are genuine desert-going prototypes.
The works Mitsubishi Pajeros are driven by Stéphane Peterhansel, Luc Alphand, Nani Roma and Hiroshi Masuoka will face opposition from the VW Race Touaregs of Sainz, de Villiers, Miller and Vatanen and from the BMW X-Raids of Kleinschmidt, Chicherit and Al-Attiyah.