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Monday, December 05, 2011

Robby Gordon and DAKAR Champ Al Alitiyah Announce 2012 Efforts



DESERT RACING BULLETIN! Al Attiyah & Robby Gordon & 2011 DAKAR CHAMPION TEAM!

Car number 300 that is usually kept for the title holder will finally be present at the start of the 2012 Dakar. It will indeed be set on a Hummer that Nasser Al Attiyah will be driving for Team Robby Gordon, with Lucas Cruz as his co-driver.

"As of now, everyone will know where Qatar is on the map of the world", those were the words of Nasser Al Attiyah after capturing his first victory on the Dakar last January in Buenos Aires. Achieving his dream after a fantastic battle with team mate Carlos Sainz, the flying Qatari was forced to settle with the strategic choices of Volkswagen that left him without a steering wheel after retiring from off-road rallies. Always keen for new projects, Al Attiyah bounced back once again in style and will live a rather busy 2012 year, including a WRC season, the London Olympics in shooting and of course a mouth-watering start with the Dakar where he will defend his title in a … Hummer!

Al Attiyah this week won the Dubai International in great style.

His name was announced or whispered in all the title-contending teams, but it will finally be as Robby Gordon's team mate that Al Attiyah will start the 2012 Dakar. And Qatar hasn't finished gaining in notoriousness: indeed the Hummer H3 that will be prepared for him by the North Carolina based team will be carrying the colours of his country. "The thought of not doing the Dakar almost made me sick but things eventually turned around. It's fantastic because it's a new challenge for me and I'm proud of being able to represent Qatar", insisted a delighted Nasser who doesn't forget that his main goal will be to manage a double on the Dakar, a performance that only Ari Vatanen has achieved in two different cars (1990-1991 / Peugeot-Citroën). Until now, the best performance of the Hummer was third spot back on the 2009 Dakar when Gordon had only been beaten by the Race Touareg VWs of Giniel De Villiers and Mark Miller. With a virtuoso of the calibre of Al Attiyah and a totally new panorama in terms of title contenders, all hopes are alive. DESERT RACING BULLETIN





What Will Jeep and Robby Gordon Bring To DAKAR?


SPEED Energy athlete Robby Gordon navigated this modified 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 8, in the Bullrun USA Rallyway cross country this past summer from July 9th through the 15th, Vegas to Miami.

In prior statements Robby Gordon declared that the Hummer look-a-like (and also Hummer sponsored) vehicle will retire and there are new developments for the 2012 Dakar Rally. Most likely Gordon Motorsports will “re-skin” the vehicle adapting to the next vehicle sponsor. With Gordon attached to Chrysler in Nascar a vehicle out of the FIAT/Chrysler/Jeep stable, is anticipated.

Maserati SUV to be built in Detroit unveiled. A new Maserati vehicle in the sport luxury SUV segment was presented at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show, in September. Maserati says it's a natural progression for its product range. Fiat’s Maserati Kubang, the SUV that Chrylser-owner Fiat plans to “import from Detroit.” The Porsche-Cayenne fighter is to be built alongside Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos at Chrysler’s Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit. Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said last December that a Maserati SUV based on the same platform, but with a “fundamentally Ferrari-based” powertrain, will be made in Detroit in 2012. Marchionne wants to expand Fiat’s Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands by drawing on Fiat and Chrysler’s combined size to boost profit.


The Jeep Mazdaerati?

The highly-anticipated Maserati Kubang concept has been unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Designed in-house, the Jeep Grand Cherokee-based model has a prominent grille, front fender vents and LED headlights. Further back, a sloping roofline leads to a uniquely styled tailgate which will undoubtedly cause visceral reactions.

The company declined to release specifications, but said the production model will be "100% Maserati" with a next-generation engine produced by Ferrari. It will be paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission which promises to deliver an engaging driving experience. Additionally, the suspension, brakes and steering system will be unique to the luxurious sport crossover.

While the original Kubang was a Giorgetto Giugiaro design, the update was done by Maserati’s in-house designer Lorenzo Ramaciotti. Other than the exterior and the well-known reliance on the Jeep Grand Cherokee/Dodge Durango platform, Maserati would only say the Kubang will have an unspecified Maranello-built engine backed by an 8-speed transmission.

Will FIAT/Jeep let Robby Gordon drive their new monster in DAKAR? After rolling his race truck twice at the recent BAJA 1000 in November, Gordon hasn't been ON his game recently.

The platform on which the Grand Cherokee and Durango SUV are built has some links to the new Mercedes-Benz M-Class, which was started as a joint program during the DaimlerChrysler era. Jefferson North currently employs 2,685 hourly and 145 salaried workers on two shifts. Both the Grand Cherokee and Durango are selling very well.

The Maserati project would broaden the integration of Chrysler and Fiat, which owns 53.5% of the U.S. automaker.

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