While this year Adrian Di Lallo and co-driver Rodger Pedersen took out class wins and fifth outright in their Isuzu MU-X at the 3000km Australiasian Safari in outback Western Australia, Di Lallo and his team are now setting their sights on an even more gruelling 8500km safari.
The Dakar features 15 competitive stages set through three countries – Argentina, Chile and Bolivia – and last year less than half of the 713 competitors from 51 countries finished the race.
Di Lallo lines up for his second Dakar following a stint in the Isuzu D-Max ute in 2013 that saw the team place 38th
outright. Sitting beside him in the passenger’s seat will be Harry Suzuki of four previous Dakar’s experience.
Based on a showroom-ready 4x4 LS-M specification, the MU-X has been re-engineered to race at Isuzu Motorsport’s Sydney headquarters. Its 3.0-litre turbo-diesel now makes “close to” 180kW of power and 600Nm of torque, up from 130kW/380Nm in the road-going version.
Isuzu says the ‘International T2’ class in which the MU-X will compete has been designed “for slightly modified production-based vehicles”.
“The car's got what it takes to finish,” Di Lallo said in a statement.
“Obviously it'll be really challenging, but we have the right equipment and a very good chance at placing well in the production class and we'll be doing our absolute best.”
The 2015 Dakar Rally begins on January 4th
and concludes on January 17th
. It will be the 35th
consecutive running of the event.