Ford Motor Company\'s Ranger brand is flying high these days. Not only is the pickup selling well in practically the entire world, it is also now preparing to compete in the world\'s most grueling off-road race next year.
The American carmaker has just announced that it is joining the 2014 Dakar Rally with a pair of South African-built Rangers. The most interesting part? They will be powered by Ford\'s aluminum 5.0-liter V8 engine. If it sounds familiar, that\'s because it\'s the same powerplant found under the hood of the Mustang GT.
\"We are extremely proud to be sending these South African-built Rangers to the 2014 Dakar Rally,\" said Ford South Africa president and CEO Jeff Nemeth. \"Dakar is the ultimate test of man and machine, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate with a phenomenal team that has local and global expertise.\"
Driving the two Rangers are Lucio Alvarez/Ronnie Graue and Chris Visser/Japie Badenhorst.
\"The Dakar Rally is a truly international showcase of off-road machinery,\" said Ford Asia Pacific president Dave Schoch. \"Last year, 745 competitors participated, representing 53 nationalities. We are pleased to have put together a global team that represents exceptional knowledge of the event as well as the Ford Ranger, which is built at the Silverton assembly plant in South Africa.\"
The 2014 Dakar Rally will be the 35th edition of the event and the sixth successive running in South America. The event will start in Rosario, Argentina, on January 5, and finish in Valparaiso, Chile, on January 18. All in all, there will be 13 stages of competition, covering a total distance of over 8,500km.