Ssangyong Takes on the Dakar Rally with the Rexton DKR
Take one look at the SsangYong Rexton DKR and it will come as no surprise that the South Korean motor company is planning to enter the wild looking off-roader into the Dakar Rally. The infamous rally is of course known for being a tough, gruelling endurance event – and that requires that both drivers and vehicles are up to the job, with terrain that can change from mud to desert to long grass and rocks over the course of the varied stages. With that in mind, maybe the Rexton DKR isn’t quite so over-the-top after all – this is not a vehicle likely to be doing a school run near you any time soon.
The 11-day event can look forward to the participation of the Rexton DKR in January 2019 when the annual event kicks off in Peru with a dual driving team consisting of Óscar Fuertes supported by Diego Vallejo as co-driver.
Spain-based SsangYong Motorsport built the tough-nut vehicle to cope with all that Dakar can throw at it – and if it looks like a classic Beetle engined beach buggy then that is no coincidence – massive ground clearance is the order of the day for all Dakar Rally vehicles; better safe than sorry and out.
Like a typical beach buggy, the Rexton is a rear-wheel drive vehicle with the powerful V8 engine mounted centrally in the back and pushing out 450bhp and offering up to 1,500Nm of torque. A 6-speed Sadev SL90-23 sequential gearbox takes care of things in the cockpit with a Torsen self-locking diff thrown in for good measure. A top speed of 122mph and a 0-60mph of just 4.4 seconds (the DKR weighs in at a stealthy 1,900kg) indicate that the DKR could be a real contender in the rally, which runs from 6-17 January.
Competing the T1-3 class (2-wheel drive, petrol powered) the Rexton DKR not only has impressive ground clearance, but also sports 17-inch Yokohama Geolander tyres fitted to the Raceline alloys to cope with the many desert stages that the Dakar will surely throw up. These can also be self-inflated from the cockpit.
Last year, the same team finished a respectable 32nd driving the SsangYong Tivoli DKR, bearing in mind that often, less than half the teams manage to finish the Dakar and this team was only the second debuting entry to ever finish. With the Rexton DKR, SsangYong are hoping for an improvement in 2019.