Dacia Duster LPG in Baja Aragón rally
The specially-prepped Duster was driven by Enrique Bonafonte, an experienced rally driver who participated in the extremely demanding and renowned Dakar Rally, among other events. His co-driver was Antonio Saraiva, also a figure far from being a rookie when it comes to rallying. And although the Repsol AutoGas team's Duster didn't win the Baja Aragón, the car would have received a medal if they gave them for performing beyond expectations. Bonafonte was very enthusiastic about the car even before the rally:
Our participation in the Baja Aragón is special because we're doing it with a completely new car that uses Autogas. Such a demanding competition as this, with extreme temperatures and where the stress on the engine is full on, will be the best testing ground for an engine with Autogas fuel that provides less consumption, less stress, a cleaner fuel ,and greater control. I think this is a great opportunity to show the advantages this alternative fuel has to the drivers.
The LPG-powered rally Duster was prepared by the Repsol Technology Centre – the company's technological heart where 400 engineers and researchers work daily to develop new solutions in the fields of fuel systems and lubricants for cars and motorcycles, including Marc Marquez' and Dani Pedrosa's Moto GP Honda bikes. A direct liquid state autogas injection system has also been created there. As for the Duster, preparing it for the Baja Aragón rally was obviously way beyond simply converting a stock example of the Dacia SUV to run on LPG. The car underwent deep modifications to become a rally-capable machine, including serious suspension tweaks and fitting a roll cage. The autogas refueling valve is located on the roof of the car.
There is a video available online showing the rally Duster in action, but it is narrated in Spanish only. Still, you can see the LPG-powered Romanian SUV tackling the demanding route of Baja Aragón without trouble. We hope to see more rally cars running on autogas in future, although even today there are some and their number is growing steadily, even though at a slow pace. The best-known for now is probably Giandomenico Basso's Ford Fiesta R5 LDI, featuring BRC's direct liquid state LPG injection system. Will the Repsol AutoGas Dacia Duster live on to rally in more events, maybe even the 2016 Dakar? We'd support it wholeheartedly!
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