Total 911

Porsche at the Parisdakar rally


Porsche has a long history of rallying the 911. However, none is as profound as that of the original and gruelling Paris-dakar rally. In 1984 Porsche entered this rally for the very first time. Designated the 953, but often referred to as the 911 4x4, Porsche’s first 911 race car was equipped with a developmen­tal all-wheel-drive system that was to be used on its replacemen­t, the 959. The model was short lived as the 959 Paris-dakar race car was already entered for 1985. The 911 4x4 also had custom suspension and its flat six engine delivered 300bhp while the car tipped the scales at only 1,247kg. Three cars were entered in 1984, of which one was able to take the overall chequered flag, René Metge and Dominique Lemoine being in the cockpit.

This success laid the foundation for Porsche for off-road racing, with three 959s entered in 1985. Sadly none finished due to mechanical failures and crashes. However, in 1986 Porsche achieved a 1st, 2nd and 6th place with its 959, René Metge and Dominique Lemoine again bringing home their car 1st and with 2nd place going to none other than Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur. These cars were equipped with the 2.8-litre, flat six, twin-turbo engine developing 400bhp. Part of the reason why the engine delivered only 400bhp is because at times during the race the 959 had to be filled with 86 octane fuel, with a higher octane fuel not being available in the desert.

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