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Dakar Rally: Take away a share in the success, rather than sand in your gears

13 stages, 9,000 km and 4,500 m altitude had to be overcome at temperatures of up to 43 degrees Celsius. The Dakar Rally through Argentina, Bolivia and Chile is a real challenge every time round.

15 MAN trucks joined the world's hardest desert rally in 2015 – and it was worth their while. MAN came in the top ten as the second best manufacturer behind Kamaz. A great team of MAN mechanics took on an immensely important role throughout the rally, supporting the drivers all the way.

As every minute could decide on victory or defeat, one thing was clear: without the tireless commitment of the mechanics and their reliable MAN service truck, we simply would never have stood a chance at the Dakar Rally.

Dakar Rally: Service truck at full speed Dakar Rally: Preparation service truck Dakar Rally: Service truck at technical verification Dakar Rally : Service Truck in difficult terrain
"Without the tireless commitment of the mechanics and their reliable MAN service truck, we simply would never have stood a chance at the Dakar Rally."

Quality paves the road to success

A faulty part, changing a screen, a complicated repair – the service team worked round the clock to make the Dakar Rally a resounding success. Of the 15 MAN racing trucks, only one failed as a result of a technical fault. This is as much a testimony to the quality of our trucks, as to the excellent work of the service technicians.

Extreme conditions demand extreme service.

Sleeping at night? That's something the service crews can only dream of. When the drivers go to bed in the "bivouac" after a strenuous day racing is when the stress really starts for the mechanics.

Every evening the vehicles are put through the paces. And, depending on the extent and the nature of the damage, the service team work away on the trucks until as late as four in the morning.

The mechanics can then take it in turns to sleep during the drive to the next stage – which is sometimes a bumpy undertaking. If there are problems at any time on the route, they of course have to be sharp-eyed and wide awake to get the truck back on the road.

A strong MAN service team for 10 years

The MAN service team celebrated a very special success at the 2015 Dakar Rally. For the past 10 years, Hans Echter and his colleagues Hans-Werner Nell and Josef Kreppold have been supporting the racing and service teams on the road with MAN vehicles in their role as the service team. They have their backs, so to speak.

The three mechanics are on the road with an MAN service truck, with a load capacity of 12 tonnes, and loaded with 1,500 spare parts.

Testing for the road in the desert

Life is one of the hardest tests there is – or maybe it's the Dakar Rally. This is why MAN uses this opportunity to test its vehicles on difficult racing tracks, to see, for instance how traction vehicles perform in mountainous conditions, or on particularly difficult terrain.

"90 percent of the trucks are equivalent to the series production vehicle."

"We have special bumpers and have adapted other parts of the trucks to withstand the conditions", explains Hans Echter. "But 90 percent of the trucks are equivalent to the series production vehicle" emphasises the experienced mechanic.

Good to know. Because something that has been so rigorously tested will definitely come up trumps in day-to-day use.

Behind the scenes at MAN

The MAN service team starts months ahead to plan and prepare the next Dakar Rally, but their exciting tasks cover so much more. The three mechanics are part of the MAN drive testing in Munich and spend the rest of the year testing vehicles. They can be seen on the test site in Munich, on an offroad track near the Bavarian capital or at vehicles tests under icy conditions in Sweden in winter.

But there is not only a demand for technicians at the Dakar Rally. Michael Maier and Florian Reiter from MAN Product Marketing Traction are responsible for organising and marketing the Dakar Rally entry. Their roles include supporting the sale of rally vehicles, reporting on the rally successes in the MAN customer magazine or the exhibition of MAN racing trucks at a trade fair for commercial vehicles. After all, the ongoing success of MAN at the Dakar Rally is a first class reference.

Tip for real Dakar fans

After the rally also means before the rally: If you would like to know more about the Dakar Rally and the new route for 2016, click on the following link: www.dakar.com


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