Fo­ton main­tains its proud Dakar record

The Witness - Wheels - - RACING -

CHI­NESE ve­hi­cle builder Fo­ton this year im­proved on its per­for­mance in the gru­elling Dakar Rally at its third at­tempt, which ended in Rosario on Jan­uary 16.

This year, the com­pany en­tered a Tun­land pick- up and a Sau­vana SUV, which is based on the Tun­land. The Sau­vana will be ar­riv­ing in South Africa later this year as an ad­di­tion to the lo­cal Fo­ton range.

Both ve­hi­cles were crewed by Chilean teams, with Ro­drigo Moreno and Diaz Araya tak­ing 42nd place in the Sau­vana and Al­varo Chicharro and Pa­tri­cio Le­gar­reta tak­ing 51st spot out of the 67 cars which com­pleted the twoweek rally in Ar­gentina and Bo­livia.

Taken into con­sid­er­a­tion that 117 cars started the 2016 edi­tion of the Dakar, just fin­ish­ing the re­cent Dakar was an ac­com­plish­ment in it­self.

The se­cond week in this year’s Dakar proved es­pe­cially tough for com­peti­tors, with high tem­per­a­tures and soft sand tak­ing their toll on man and ma­chine. Get­ting through the dif­fi­cult stages in Bo­livia, where a lot of com­peti­tors had to call it a day, was yet again tes­ti­mony to the inherent tough­ness and all- ter­rain ca­pa­bil­ity of the two Fo­ton ve­hi­cles.

Fo­ton was the only Chi­nese man­u­fac­turer to have a 100% fin­ish­ing record with its two en­tries in Dakar 2016.

Fo­ton de­buted at the Dakar with a Tun­land driven by Chicharro at the 2014 event, which was dis­qual­i­fied when its sup­port truck ven­tured on- to the rac­ing route. Last year, the team fared bet­ter, tak­ing 57th and 59th po­si­tions with two Tun­lands.

Chicharro said on the podium in Rosario at the end of the 2016 rally that Fo­ton is im­prov­ing its per­for­mance year by year. — Sup­plied.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

China’s Fo­ton again man­aged a proud fin­ish in this year’s Dakar.

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