YPF Competicion Ford Ranger all set for gruelling Dakar Rally test
Team wraps up final logistical preparations before Saturday’s rally start
Storms and heavy rain swamp Buenos Aires in build-up to rally send-off
Weeks of meticulous planning and mental and physical preparations will be put to the test when the Argentine duo of Federico Villagra and Andrés Memi reach the ceremonial start of the 2015 Dakar Rally in the centre of Buenos Aires tomorrow (Saturday).
Ahead of their YPF Competicion Ford Ranger lies a punishing intended route of 9,111 km through some of the most hostile terrain that Argentina, Bolivia and Chile can throw at a capacity entry of 414 vehicles; comprising 138 cars, 164 bikes, 48 quads and 64 trucks.
Villagra finished 12th overall on his first attempt at the world’s most demanding rally in 2014 and is confident that the logistical support and on-event management of South Racing and the engineering expertise of Neil Woolridge Motorsport will see him through to the finish back in Buenos Aires on January 17th.
“It has been a long road to Dakar, but Andrés and I are ready,” said Villagra, who will also complete his scrutineering and administration formalities at the Tecnópolis exhibition centre in the Argentine capital on Saturday morning. “After a great test we have a good feeling with the YPF Competicion Ford Ranger. Let’s see where the race will take us.”
Heavy summer rain and storms hampered race organisers’ early preparations in Buenos Aires, but technical checks are now back on track and on schedule.
South Racing’s team members have worked tirelessly to ensure that every intricate detail of the logistical and on-event mechanical operations have been overseen in fine detail and all that hard work will be put to the test when the service and support vehicles, mechanics, engineers and team personnel begin their jobs in earnest on the run through northern Argentina and into Chile this week.
“The team has wrapped up all the final preparations and done a great job,” said South Racing’s managing director Scott Abraham. “The staff at Neil Woolridge Motorsport have built a superb car. This year’s event has arguably the highest ever number of the world’s top cross-country crews. Our plan is to take things conservatively and focus on solid results. This will, hopefully, see us in a good position when we return to Buenos Aires in two weeks’ time.”
In addition to Argentine energy company YPF, Villagra’s Dakar programme is being supported by suspension and OEM parts company Fric Rot, Brenson (Dealer Ford), Piamontesa and construction company Natania. OMP, Michelin, Rudy Project and Gold Nutrition have provided technical assistance.