Dacia Sandrider all set for the 2025 Dakar Rally

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The V6-powered Dacia Sandrider has been developed with Prodrive and features concept-car styling and huge off-road ability.

Dacia has drawn on its recent Manifesto concept car for the looks of its Sandrider, now unveiled as the basis for the value brand’s assault on the Dakar Rally.

Developed in conjunction with British motorsport specialist Prodrive, but with design work from the brand’s own studio, the Dacia Sandrider is a buggy-style, four-wheel-drive creation that will run in the top class for rally raid machinery, Ultimate T1+. It features boxy looks that are clearly inspired by those of the Manifesto, a dramatic concept car that made its debut at the 2022 Paris motor show.

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The new arrival will be driven by five-time Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah and nine-time World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb, who is still searching for his first victory in the Dakar but brings extensive experience after working with Prodrive on its Hunter project. Dakar class winner Cristina Gutierrez Herrero will be at the wheel of the third Sandrider.

Tubular construction and carbon-fibre panels feature on the new car – although Dacia says that all superfluous bodywork has been removed to help save weight. It uses double-wishbone suspension throughout, to help cope with the rough terrain typical on rally raids, and features a number of novel features, including anti-infrared pigments in the paint, to help reduce heat soak and its effects on the vehicle.

The Sandrider’s spare wheels are not shrouded, to make them easier to access when changing punctures, and the interior features magnetic elements that are designed to hold tools securely in place when bouncing through the desert.

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Like the Manifesto concept, there’s a focus on simplicity with just one front fog light and completely stripped interior. There’s also virtually no overhangs front and rear so the Sandrider should be able to conquer the steepest inclines.

Unlike the all-electric Manifesto, the Sandrider uses a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine, producing 265kW and 539Nm of torque, and will use sustainable synthetic fuel supplied by Dakar’s partner Aramco.

The Sandrider will undergo development testing throughout this year, before a proposed debut on the Rallye du Maroc in October. The first attempt at Dakar at the start of 2025 will be followed by a full campaign in the World Rally-Raid Championship.

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