TIMES LIVE PRELUDE
South African team looks to score a Century in Dakar 2023
by Times Live - 9 December 2022
Midrand-based carmaker prepares 10-car line up for next month’s 14-day race
South African rally-raid carmaker Century Racing heads to Dakar 2023 with its biggest effort yet. Headed by two new biturbo Century Racing CR6-Ts, the 10-car team is ready to impress in the 14-day 8,500km race across the Arabian Desert.
Midrand-based Century has built state of the art rally-raid race cars for local and international clients since 1996. Traditionally powered by a 7.0l Corvette LS7 V8, in 2023 the team switches to a new biturbo V6 CR6-T racer. Frenchmen Mathieu Serradori and Loic Minaudier, and South Africans Brian Baragwanath and Leonard Cremer will drive the new cars, powered by the biturbo 2.9l V6 usually found under the bonnet of the 331kW Audi RS4. Mid-mounted behind the crew, the V6 powers the rear wheels via a sequential gearbox. Sporting giant BF Goodrich tyres on 37-inch wheels with 440mm wheel travel, the Century also has auto tyre inflation and built-in hydraulic jacks.
Both Century factory crews also bring huge Dakar experience to the table. A Dakar car stage winner en route to eighth in 2020 and seventh in 2021, Serradori also has three bike finishes to his name. Co-driver Minaudier also successfully raced Dakar motorcycles for five years before switching to the cars.
Former Dakar quad podium finisher Baragwanath switched to cars driving a Century CR6 in 2021, finishing in 14th in the overall standings.
The Century team has been testing in the South African Rally-Raid Championship and in the Namibian desert dunes. The two Factory entries are backed by eight international crews racing Century CR6 Corvette V8s.
Spanish mobility company Astara returns with four, 90% e-fuel-powered CR6 V8s. Former MotoGP star Carlos Checa returns for his second Dakar alongside ex-Dakar biker and more recently a navigator, Marc Sola Terradellas. They’re backed by female Dakar bike rider Laia Sanz accompanied by fellow bike refugee and double Malle Moto winner Fabrizio Gerini in their second car attack after ending 23rd last year.
The other two Astara Century CR6s will be driven by Oscar Fuertes Aldanon on his fifth Dakar alongside seven-time Dakar finisher Dodiego Vallejo, and rookies Sergio Vallejo and Mario Gozalez Tome.
Two Dutch Coronel Raring Century crews are led by highly experienced Coronel twins Tim and Tom Coronel sharing a Dakar car for the sixth time in 2023 in their CR6. It is experienced former solo car winner Tim’s fifteenth, and Tom’s ninth Dakar. Their Coronel Racing teammates Michel Kremer and Thomas De Bois make their Dakar debut in another CR6.
French crews Yannick and Valérie Panagiotis are back for a second Dakar in their FJ Century CR6 after winning their entry at the South African Rally-Raid Championship Desert 1000 through the Road to Dakar Challenge. Antoine Galland and Yannick Demay, also make their debut in their ORC car.
“We're sending the heavy artillery in again. We have a 10 car line-up this year with some big names and a faster new turbo car for the factory team. Let’s see how the toughest race in the world will unfold,” said Century Racing team boss Julien Hardy.