China's Chery To Enter Dakar Rally

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
china s chery to enter dakar rally

China’s Chery will be the first ever Chinese brand to enter the venerable Dakar Rally.

After the Paris-Dakar Rally had been canceled in 2008 for fear of terrorist attacks, the world’s roughest race moved to South America in 2009. For good, as it seems. The 2010 edition will start on New Year’s Day in Buenos Aires, to return (with a considerably thinned-out field) to Buenos Aires on January 16. The route is some 9,000km/5600m long. Four of the 14 legs of the race will be spent in the Atacama Desert. The Andes will be crossed two times at altitudes of about 4,700m. Team Chery will send 4 cars:

Two X5 race cars, one X5 conductor car and one H5 support car. Leading the driver lineup will be Ningjun Lu, a five time Dakar veteran.

All cars are “Rely” SUVs. Rely is a sub-brand created by Chery for its home market’s high-end commercial vehicle segment. Besides Rely, Chery’s brand portfolio consists of oddly named brands such as “Riich” for their premium passenger car brand, and “Karry” for their compact car brand.

The real Dakar Rally used to be owned by a Mitsubishi Pajero piloted by French teams. The 2009 Rally was won by a Volkswagen Touareg that shared nothing but the name with VW’s Touareg.

The Dakar Rally is also one of the deadliest. Amongst its most prominent victims: Thierry Sabine, the man who invented the Dakar Rally. He died in a helicopter crash during the 1986 Dakar Rally.

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  • Davejay Davejay on Dec 17, 2009

    But...what if they win? How mind-blowing would THAT be?

  • Sinistermisterman Sinistermisterman on Dec 17, 2009

    I was wondering when the first chinese car company would take part in some international motorsports. Hats off to them and I wish them every success. Getting the brand name known in the rest of the world is going to be important, and this is the perfect international stage for doing that.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂