Dacia Sandriders complete initial Dakar testing, next stop Morocco

Dacia Sandriders complete initial Dakar testing, next stop Morocco

The Dacia Sandriders team has completed its initial testing phase as part of its ongoing preparations for next year’s Dakar, the ultimate motorsport challenge that it will take on for the first time in January 2025.


Following a systems’ check at Millbrook Proving Ground in the UK, The Dacia Sandriders spent four days at the Sweet Lamb testing complex in Wales between 6 - 9 May. The team then headed to Château de Lastours, France, for another four days of intense testing between 27 – 31 May. Whilst there the three crews had the opportunity to test the Sandrider, fitted with BF Goodrich tyres, on rocky and demanding terrain.


Cristina Gutiérrez was behind the wheel of the Sandrider for two days in Wales before Sébastien Loeb, the nine-time world rally champion, took over test and development duties.


Multiple Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah got his first taste of the car at Château de Lastours over two days. Sébastien returned to the cockpit for the one and a half days with Cristina called on for the final afternoon of running.


The Dacia Sandriders’ team principal Tiphanie Isnard has confirmed that the initial testing phase has exceeded expectations with very few issues experienced.


Extensive work is now under way ahead of the first comprehensive test in Morocco from 28 June until 5 July. That’s when the Sandrider will be put through its paces on terrain similar to what will be encountered during the Dakar, the opening round of the 2025 FIA World Rally-Raid Championship in Saudi Arabia from 3 – 17 January, 2025.


Nasser Al-Attiyah (Qatar), driver, the Dacia Sandriders said: “The test in Château de Lastours was the first time for me to jump in the Dacia Sandrider. I found it easy to drive, fast and strong. We did 270 kilometers on the first day and the same on the second day. There were no issues and we enjoyed it a lot. We are in a good way for the next tests, and I can’t wait to get to Morocco.”


Cristina Gutiérrez (Spain), driver, the Dacia Sandriders added: “Having the opportunity to see the Dacia Sandrider in action and cover my first kilometers in the car has been incredible. I am feeling very comfortable, adapting to a new type of car and a new category for me. There are still many important test days ahead, but in general we are super-happy with the work of the team. We cannot ask for more. It is the general feeling to be very proud of the car's performance in these first tests.”


Sébastien Loeb (France), driver, the Dacia Sandriders said: “The testing has gone very well. I did one day in the UK and two days in France. We worked on the suspension and the diff to find a good balance with the car, and I was happy with how it worked. The engine was working well since the start, and we didn’t have any problems. Based on the experience of a brand-new car it’s looking really good and I look forward to continuing the testing in Morocco.”


Philip Dunabin, Technical Director said: “We have completed a series of initial tests before we go for our first test in a real rally-raid environment in Morocco. So far everything has gone astonishingly smoothly with no serious problems. We’ve managed to sign off all the basic things in terms of the engine, we’ve done quite a lot more work than we expected to do on the suspension set-up and the transmission settings have been reviewed in terms of the differentials. The suspension had a real good going over not just during the test at Sweet Lamb but very much so in the test at Château de Lastours. Now, we’ve got a lot of work cleaning up a lot of the details putting the car into a state that is ready to go on a rally. We managed to highlight one or two problems in terms of the crew’s installation inside the car where we want to make some improvements and they should also be in place before we do the tests in Morocco. Everything is looking really positive, only a couple of very minor things that we were able to work on quite quickly. Now everybody is working flat out preparing everything for Morocco and we are very much looking forward to continuing our Dakar preparations there.”

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