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Renault Aims for Top 10 Finish in Dakar 2016

Renault's ambitions for the Dakar Rally have gone up. Following last year's results - 21st overall - the French manufacturer is now aiming for a top ten finish.
2016 Renault Duster Dakar 22 photos
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Renault will enter two Duster models in their fourth ever Dakar: the Argentine Emilio Spataro and Benjamin Lozada are joined by Frenchmen Christian Lavieille and Jean Michel Polato. Spataro and Lozada were the event’s second-best Argentine finishers in 2015. They also grabbed five top-ten stage finishes, including two inside the top three and one inside the top five.

Both crews will be supported by Renault Sport Technologies. The brand's motorsport division has spent the past few months training the 30 mechanics, technicians and engineers who will provide assistance.

More importantly, Renault Sport has also worked on the cars, not just the people. The main points of focus were reducing the Duster's weight, improving the chassis and getting more power out of the engine. There's no 110 hp 1.5-liter dCi under the hood of this Duster! Instead, you'll find a 390 hp 5-liter V8, sourced from the Infiniti QX70. One of the perks of having a partnership with Nissan.

Because there's no way Renault - or any manufacturer, for that matter - wouldn't try to make a few bucks from competing in the Dakar rally, the French brand has launched a limited edition Duster Dakar. It's based on the Dynamique trim level, with a few embellishments. The car sports black, 26-inch "diamond" rims, Dakar Spirit badging, and the Dakar logo in various places, like the sills.

The official rally logo can also be found in the cabin, on the front headrests and steering wheel. The Duster Dakar's interior features exclusive upholstery and color detailing on the door panels and dashboard.

The 2016 Dakar rally starts on January 2, in Buenos Aires. It's scheduled to end on January 16, in Rosario, after a 9,000 km journey through unforgiving Argentina and Bolivia. Unforgiving for vehicles, not that they're bad countries to be in. Both are quite spectacular, actually.

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