The annual Dakar Rally is in full swing as it started back on January 2, and will continue through January 16. For daily updates make sure to visit OffroadXtreme for all of your Dakar news. You will see several classes running a number of different vehicles ranging from dirt bikes, to four-wheelers, to cars and SUVs. What you may be less familiar with however are the massive diesel-powered all-terrain vehicles, some of which are purely there as support vehicles, and others racing in their own special class.
These massive vehicles first ran in their own class in 1980 as the Truck Class, or T4. Since, the competition has been further divided among several subcategories: “Series Production” or T4.1, “Modified” or T4.2, and lastly T4.3 which are rally support vehicles, previously known as T5.
According to wikipedia, “Kamaz has dominated the truck category since the turn of the century, although it has come under increasing pressure from rivals such as Iveco, MAN and Tatra, which enjoyed much success in the 1990s. Hino, DAF, Perlini and Mercedes-Benz have also been among the winners in the past.”
These massive vehicles can be seen flying through the tundras, mud, snow, and deserts just like the smaller race vehicles and aren’t afraid to get little airtime themselves. The massive amount of diesel power, traction, and suspension enables these vehicles to travel across some incredible ground at an incredible rate of speed. As mentioned in the video, the trucks’ level of support vary from just racing, to vehicle or bike support, to complete team hospitality and mobile pit units. Robby Gordon chooses to travel in style with a pit vehicle on the larger end of the spectrum.