Rallye Gazelles & Men 2018: choosing the car and tires
Choose the car that accompanied us in the rally Gazelles & Men 2018 representing the values of BFGoodrich and WoMen Forward was a complicated decision. As in any project, we must take into account the needs, the limitations imposed by the organization of the competition and obviously the budget .
We started to collect information talking to veterans of this type of competitions and diving a bit in specialized forums we quickly understood that the selection was going to adjust to a handful of models. At the end of today the market of 4 × 4 "pure" (excluding SUVs and other raised cars) has slowed down a lot and there are few relatively modern vehicles that have the performance and reliability required to face this kind of adventure.
The requirements of the organization for the category of "vehicles" are simple:
- Minimum motor 1.3 liters (it is necessary to erta power to move in large dunes).
- 4 × 4 traction and reductive.
- Maximum free distance to the ground 350mm (to reduce the chances of overturning and cheaper costly preparations)./li>
- Maximum weight 3,500 kg.
- Minimum 400 km of autonomy (essential especially for the two-day marathon stage ... or if you get lost).
- Closed roof complete and fixed or removable only if equipped with anti-roll bars.
- Tubular chassis are not allowed.
The car span>
After a first and quick screening the finalist models were: Jeep Great Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, Nissan Patrol GR, Nissan Pathfinder, Isuzu D-Max, Mitusubishi L200, Toyota Hilux (always in double cab) and Toyota Land Cruiser (HDJ and KDJ). As you can imagine, it's no accident that none of these models is precisely a "last generation" car. It's a shame, but the current market of 4 × 4 has been very decaffeinated so it is essential to use models with years behind them.
Finally the The chosen model was a Toyota Land Cruiser KDJ 120 of the year 2005, specifically a unit that has already participated in more similar tests with good results. The car is equipped with the well-known engine 3.0 D-4D boosted up to 200 hp. The suspension of series has been replaced by a suitably reinforced and slightly raised . The vital organs of our toy are protected by solid metallic plates that although they add weight to the car, they increase the chances of reaching the destination without damage.Of course, we did not want to put the lighting aside, complementing the standard headlights with a powerful LED bar on the roof , vital to gain an angle of vision and control where you put the wheel in the middle of the night. If you get lost at night in the desert the absence of visual references makes it less than impossible to find the route with a compass, but at least you have to try not to destroy the car.
Although the standard equipment of the car is preserved (airbags, belts, air conditioning, etc.) .) will only have two seats since the rest will be dismantled to give space to the necessary equipment. Choosing a 5 doors version is not casual, because we must carry with us tents, tools and parts, two spare wheels, water and food, warm clothes, first aid kit, air compressor , etc. You can not miss a practical compartmented drawer located in the trunk to help organize all the material.
At the moment we have a good machine with > the best footwear , but given that the crew (ie Irene and me) is not the best, it is necessary to equip the car with a series of essential accessories: slings and eyebolts, unblocking plates, shovel to dig, air compressor, etc.
A fundamental aspect of Off-Road practice> are the tires, it is useless to have the best all-rounder in the world if we then wear it with ballet shoes.
Having the sponsorship of BFGoodrich is a luck in the world of 4 × 4 competition , because the benefits of these tires are beyond doubt. This time we are going to assemble the new BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 , an approved real-life tire that incorporates technologies derived from the BFGoodrich Baja T/A KR3 competition range designed for very competitive races. demanding Dakar type .
For the practice of the outside track so necessary is to have a good footwear as know how to extract all the juice. Thus, the control of pressures is essential to maximize traction, minimize wear and prevent punctures or glides. The BFGoodrich tires are an example in this regard: for example Rubén Gracia finished the 2016 Dakar without a single puncture. It is said soon, but they are more than 10,000 km of extreme torture without giving a single hit.
On the road to avoid overheating will bring pressures of around 2.5 Bar, down to 1.6 for the "normal" roads (within what can normally be a road in Morocco) and touching bottom around 0.8 Bar for the dunes more complicated. In areas of rocks we will raise pressures and lower the speed to minimize possible damage to rims and flanks.
Preparing for the rally
Once we had closed the "mechanical part" we started with our own preparation , a much more important task than we initially thought.
Coming soon, we will tell you more about our adventure.You may be interested