ERJ staff report (TP)
Melksham, UK − Cooper Tire Europe will be well represented in the 35th running of the Dakar Rally, which began on 5 January in Rosario, Argentina.
Catalan rally ace and Cooper Europe 4x4 ambassador, Xavi Foj, is looking for his third successive T2 Production Class title on Cooper rubber, while the Race2Recovery team returns to build on its impressive achievements in 2013.
Spaniard Xavi Foj, who was recently unveiled as 4x4 brand ambassador for Cooper Tire Europe, is the most experienced Dakar Rally racer of all time, having competed a remarkable 24 times.
Foj has used Cooper Discoverer S/T MAXX tires since 2012, having previously used the manufacturer’s Discoverer STT tires.
Since making the switch to S/T MAXX rubber, which offers a better adaptation in sandy soils, Foj has enjoyed great success, winning back-to-back T2 production class titles in 2012 and 2013 and he’s aiming for the hat trick in 2014.
Also returning to South America on Cooper tires is the Race2Recovery team, which made history in 2013 to become the first-ever disabled team to complete the legendary Dakar Rally.
Predominantly made up of injured servicemen and acting under the banner ‘Beyond Injury, Achieving the Extraordinary,’ the team, founded by Captain Tony Harris, will field two crews in the 2014 event.
Sarah McRoberts, Marketing Manager for Cooper Tire Europe, underlined the challenges that the Cooper-backed crews face, saying: “The Dakar is the toughest of all the cross-country rallies. Crews need incredible stamina – both physical and mental – to make it through the demands of the event.
“Tires are extremely important in all forms of motorsport and, for a long, tiring event such as the Dakar Rally, which sees entrants faced with a range of challenging terrains, tire choice is vital. This is where Cooper’s off-road offering really comes into its own, as our tires are ideally tailored to offer soft traction and the dispersion of stones and other objects.”
Widely recognised as the world’s most gruelling motorsport challenge, the Dakar Rally sees competitors across a range of classes take on the toughest terrains, from hard, rocky surfaces to fine sand, called ‘fesh-fesh,’ over a course of more than 8,500km.
For 2014, the Dakar Rally began in Rosario, Argentina, on 5 January. From there, competitors will venture into Bolivia, before heading south into Chile, where the rally will end on 18 January.
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Press release from Cooper Tire Europe