With just one day to go before the official opening of Dakar Rally 2014 in the host city of Rosario, Team Ford Racing is ready and geared up for its debut on this legendary event.
The crew from Neil Woolridge Motorsport (NWM) in South Africa and South Racing in Europe arrived in Argentina on 29December and spent the ensuing four days preparing the two Team Ford Racing Rangers, T4 race truck, two assistance trucks and five Ranger support vehicles at Ford’s Pacheco Plant in Buenos Aires.
This included packing around 12 tonnes of spares, tools, equipment and 112 Michelin race tyres in the trucks, and ensuring the race cars are in perfect condition to tackle the arduous continent-crossing 9 300 km Dakar Rally route.
Yesterday the team travelled around 300 km to Rosario, which is the administrative centre for the start of the rally. This was also the setting for the first official press conference for Team Ford Racing, held at the local Ford dealer.
During the course of today all of the formal documentation and scrutineering will be completed, followed by the opening ceremony for Dakar Rally 2014 in the Rosario city centre at 15:30 (local time) on Saturday.
“It has been a mammoth task getting all the vehicles ready, but everyone has done a great job and we are well prepared for Dakar,” says Scott Abraham, Team Manager for South Racing.
According to Neil Woolridge, Team Manager for NWM, the drivers are relishing the opportunity to get behind the wheel and set out on stage one.
“Lucio Alvarez and Chris Visser both had a final test before we left Buenos Aires and are delighted with their cars,” Woolridge states. “We’ve done extensive work and improvements on the Rangers in the build-up to Dakar, and Lucio commented that he can’t believe it’s the same car he first tested in Namibia during September last year.”
The drivers and navigators are also fit and in really good shape, and have been preparing physically with the assistance of team physiotherapist Michael Denton.
The high-adrenaline Dakar Rally 2014 action kicks into gear on Sunday 5 January. The first stage from Rosario to San Luis covers a total of 809 km, including the 629 km road section and 180 km competitive stage.