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DAKAR 2023



by Motorsport Media - 13 Jan 2023

What: Dakar 2023  Preview

Where: Saudi Arabia

When: 31 December 2022 - 15 January 2023

Community: International

Sublime South African cars ready to stun

Documentation is done, technical inspections complete. The cars are shaken down, and every final preparation has been made. Now it’s just a matter of waiting it out on the Red Sea beach for Saturday’s short qualifying run, but Century Racing is ready to tackle the toughest race on the planet.


No less than ten sublime Century Racing rally-raid cars are poised to compete in Dakar 2023. The Johannesburg-based team’s biggest effort yet, will see a pair of brand new biturbo Century Racing CR6-Ts in the thick of it, as Dakar 2023 unfolds in an epic 14-day 8,500 km race across the Arabian Desert. 


South African designed, built, and developed, Century Racing’s latest state of the art Factory CR6-T rally-raid race cars switch to 331 kW biturbo 2.9-litre Audi RS4 V6 power for 2023. South African heroes Brian Baragwanath and Leonard Cremer and Frenchmen Mathieu Serradori and Loic Minaudier lead the Century attack in the two new cars.


Former Dakar quad stage winner Brian and Leonard have scored numerous podiums over the last two Dakar years. They arrive at the 2023 race chasing an elusive stage win and a handy step forward from their 14th overall finish last year. Seventh overall in ’22, former car stage winner, Century Racing veteran Serradori also has three bike finishes to his name.


The new CR6-T, which broke cover for the first time at the Dakar Sea Camp bivouac on Thursday, is packed with innovation. Its mid-mounted new Motec ECU controlled V6 powers the rear wheels via a latest Sadev SL924 sequential gearbox. “We're still optimising the engine maps,” Century Racing boss Julien Hardy explained. “Tomorrow we're testing with the local 95 fuel to compare, as it's for free.


“Our turbo engine is very new, and preparation has been challenging this year, but we've done a lot of testing and it's been fairly reliable. “Time is always against us in this game, even more so this year, so this race will show us if we have covered everything!“


Cooling will be a major factor in week 2 in the very tight dunes, so time will tell if the upgraded radiator and bigger fans will do the job. “The turbo engine seems more affected by cooling than the V8s, so that's been one of the main focuses of development in the last 4 months. We hope the power gains will be worth all this effort!”


The CR6-T also has 50% new parts versus the V8, including all-new bodywork. “Mathieu and Loïc are very impressed – the short rear end seems to help with less drag and the guys reached a 170 km/h top speed very quickly in the soft sand today. “Mathieu drove with the original rear in Namibia and he is convinced that the new tail is faster.” The CR6T rides on 17-inch wheels in giant BF Goodrich tyres with auto inflation and 440 mm R53 suspension travel. 


The two Factory entries are backed by eight privateer Century CR6 Corvette V8s. Four Astara 90% e-fuelled Century CR6s racing out of Spain see Former MotoGP star Carlos Checa in his second Dakar alongside Marc Sola, and Dakar bike heroine Laia Sanz with double Malle Moto winner Fabrizio Gerini reading the notes, leading the charge. Oscar Fuertes and Dodiego Vallejo, and rookies Sergio Vallejo and Mario Gozalez drive the other two. 


Highly experienced Dutch Coronel twins, Tim and Tom share a Dakar car for the sixth time in 2023, while Century CR6 teammates Michel Kremer and Thomas De Bois make their Dakar debut. French crews, Yannick and Valérie Panagiotis won their entry to their second Dakar via the South African Desert 1000 Road to Dakar Challenge in their FJ Century CR6. Antoine Galland and Yannick Demay make their Dakar debut in their ORC Century CR6.


“Century Racing has the second biggest fleet of cars racing in Dakar 2023 after Toyota, so one out of seven cars here is one of ours and the CR6s are hard to miss!” Julien Hardy concluded. “It’s worth noting that the car entries have dropped from 97 to 71, with the two wheel drive field now making a slightly bigger proportion than last year.


Dakar 2023 commences with a short 11 km Prologue on Saturday before Sunday’s first full day of racing sees a 367 km gravel loop around Sea Camp, including the first dune challenge later in the day. A tough week follows with around 400 km of racing every day through to Monday’s Rest Day. Week 2 includes Thursday and Friday’s 185 km no overnight service Empty Quarter Marathon and on to the finish at Dammam on Sunday 15 January.

* Century Racing Factory Team is proudly sponsored by Fortinet, SRT, R53 Suspension, International Race Supplies, AP Racing, ALDO, CEMS Consult, Trollope Mining, ATS  Racing Supplies, OMP, Mecad - Solidworks SA, Sadev, Ekoil, Caltex Havoline SA and Houss.

Issued on behalf of Century Racing

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