Dacia unveils Sandrider, its new car for the Dakar Rally 2025
Romanian carmaker Dacia, a member of the French group Renault, has just unveiled Sandrider - its brand new prototype that will compete in the Dakar Rally and the World Rally-Raid Championship from 2025. Inspired by the Manifesto concept car, Sandrider will be homologated to run in the premier Ultimate T1+ category.
The new Sandrider "was designed to focus on the essentials of motorsport," the company said. It is fitted with body panels only considered absolutely necessary, with no decorative or extra parts. According to Dacia, emphasis has been placed on aerodynamics.
The short, floating bonnet features a raked design, disappearing from the crew's field of vision. In addition, the anti-reflective paint used on the upper part of the dashboard, which the company says is a technique borrowed from the aviation industry, also optimises visibility.
The vehicle was also strengthened with a consolidated subframe and bumpers, carbon bodywork, double wishbone suspension, and a 4x4 transmission built for the gruelling requirements of rally-raid events. An "innovative electrical system" maintains optimum power for all on-board accessories, even in the most challenging conditions. In addition, it is equipped with new-generation BF Goodrich tyres.
Plus, as the engineers focused mainly on making the car lighter and reducing fuel consumption, Dacia Sandrider's weight has been cut by around 15 kg. This was done by using a lighter tubular chassis, getting rid of all extra body panels and using carbon for the others, but also by removing all decorative features and using a more compact and lighter engine.
Sandrider's engine runs on synthetic fuel supplied by Aramco, and Dacia says The Dakar Rally is "the ideal testing ground for this technology."
The new Sandrider will now begin a long series of development tests in several countries. Its motorsport debut will take place at the Rallye du Maroc 2024, the Moroccan leg of the World Rally-Raid Championship (W2RC), between October 5 and 11.
The Dacia Sandriders, Dacia's official W2RC team, will compete in their first Dakar and the other legs of the World Rally-Raid Championship in 2025. According to the company, the Dacia Sandriders bring together three crews.
French rally driver Sébastien Loeb, 49, who won the World Rally Championship nine times in a row between 2004 and 2012, will be partnered by co-driver Fabian Lurquin. Meanwhile, rally driver Cristina Gutierrez Herrero, 32, another leading name in cross-country rallying, will race alongside Pablo Moreno Huete. Last but not least, the list includes Nasser Al-Attiyah, a five-time winner of the World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and two-time winner of the World Rally-Raid Championship.