SsangYong Successfully Completes the Dakar Rally for the 2nd Consecutive Year
After last year's successful race, SsangYong España once again successfully completed the 2019 Dakar Rally, the most grueling motor race in the world, for the second consecutive year, reaffirming its position as a leading SUV manufacturer.
The Dakar Rally is the most highly renowned off-road motorsport event in the world, held every January. Due to the extremely challenging environment and schedule designed to test the mettle of the contestants, this race is often described as the "race from hell" and the "race of death."
The 41st Dakar Rally, which began with the opening podium ceremony in Lima, the capital of Peru, took racers to Pisco-San Juan de Marcona-Arequipa-Moquegua or Tacna, coming back to the starting point in Lima for 2 weeks.
More than 70% of the 5,000 km trail is composed of sand dunes and desert terrains. Because of this, only 56 teams out of 100 completed the whole race.
The Spain-built SsangYong Rexton DKR is based on the design of the original Rexton, remodeled as a rear-wheel-drive vehicle for the rally boasting a 450-hp output, 1,500-Nm torque, and a 6.2L V8 engine. Its strong and nimble performance culminates in the 0-100km/h record of 4.4 seconds, which proved vital in surviving the toughest challenges posed by the off-road courses of the Dakar Rally.
Óscar Fuertes and Diego Vallejo teamed up again this year, coming in 3rd in the T1.3 category (2WD gasoline vehicle) and winning 33rd place overall. By successfully completing the whole race made up of 10 stages this year, SsangYong made a record of finishing this harsh race for 2 years in a row.
"The rally has been extremely tough and intense. It was not only about racing because driving through the places we had to was a real challenge," assures Óscar Fuertes as he caresses the front of his 100% Spanish vehicle: "Our SsangYong Rexton has brought us here despite everything we put it through."
When celebrating the success, the former Spanish Gravel Rally champion also wanted to thank the Korean brand's team for their great job. "We should feel very satisfied with the work done. Everybody has given their 140%. Every single member of the SsangYong Motorsport team has been very passionate. Although today we are the protagonists and it is us who will be on the picture, we've all done a great job," assesses the driver.
For co-driver Diego Vallejo, this is also a special accomplishment as it is his fourth completed Dakar rally, racing the last two with Fuertes and SsangYong Motorsport. "We are very happy to be here at the finish line. This has been a terrible Dakar with a lot of sand. There've been very tough moments when we've had a really bad time, but we've overcome every one of them. To a great extent, it's been possible thanks to the Rexton DKR, which has performed wonderfully despite everything we put it through," he admits.
The experienced Galician co-driver summarises the strain and effort required to succeed in this Dakar 2019. "I don't think I'll go to the beach much this year; I've had enough sand already!" he jokes. But at the podium in Lima, he exclaims: "We're ready for the next one!"
The Dakar Rally has been the best stage to prove SsangYong's robustness and durability. And the great challenge of SsangYong España has been one of the best marketing activities that boosts the brand awareness of SsangYong as the leading 4x4 SUV specialist.
This project of SsangYong España with considerable investment will be recognized as best marketing practice as well as excellent asset for communication of SsangYong brand globally.
Meanwhile, SsangYong participated in the Dakar Rally with the Korando Family in 1994 for the first time, coming in the 8th place overall as the first Korean auto manufacturer team to complete the race. In later years, the company competed the race with other models such as Musso, coming in within the 10th place for the 3rd consecutive years and proving its superior durability and capabilities.
Johng-sik Choi, CEO of SsangYong Motor Company, said "It is very encouraging to successfully complete the Dakar Rally once again, which came after last year's achievement with Tivoli DKR, SsangYong's first entry in 9 years," and he added "The Dakar Rally is an excellent opportunity to present how SsangYong is strengthening its position as the leading SUV manufacturer. We will continue to expand global sales through various marketing activities that emphasize our technology and brand awareness."