As Renault is continuing to work on Dacia's image, the Duster Ice will once again compete in the Andros Trophy, after finishing in second place last year. Set to be piloted by the legendary Alain Prost, the updated model features a number of evolutions for the new season. The opening round of the ice-racing championship will be held at Val Thorens (France), on the 4th and 5th of December.
Developed by Renault Sport Technologies, the Dacia Duster racecar features a tubular chassis with a lightweight fiberglass body with power coming from a Renault-Nissan-sourced 3.0-liter V6 engine producing 350-horsepower.
The six-cylinder powertrain underwent a few key modifications and churns out an extra 20Nm of torque (15 lb-ft) at 3,000 rpm. Power is sent to all four wheels, through a six-speed sequential gearbox, while the suspension features new shock absorbers better suited for the rough, icy terrain on which the Andros Trophy events are held. For added precision, engineers also modified the electro-hydraulic steering system, which turns all wheels.
Alain Prost commented:
"We are determined to build on what we started last winter. The thinking behind our second year together marks a logical step forward in sporting, technical and brand terms. Last season, we were aware it would be tough to win the Trophée Andros with a new car, not to mention the fact that the programme began at a relatively late stage. Our overriding aim was to take part, try to be competitive and win races, and also win over the public. This time round, my intention is to challenge for the title. We completed two very positive days of testing at Val Thorens last weekend. Our work on Duster has clearly paid dividends and we are convinced we have the means to make a strong start."
Overall, the Romanian brand's image is at an all-time high, as the budget SUV is also a finalist in the 2011 Car of the Year competition.
By Csaba Daradics
Dacia Duster Technical Data
Tubular steel chassis Double wishbones
Renault-Nissan Alliance-developed Type VQ 30 engine Mid-rear position V6
Cubic capacity: 2,987cc
Bore x stroke: 93mm x 73.3mm Maximum power: 257kW EEC (350hp) at 7,500rpm
Maximum torque: 360Nm EEC at 5,500rpm
Six-speed SADEV sequential gearbox
Front: 260mm-diameter ventilated steel discs
Rear: 265mm-diameter steel discs
WHEELS AND TIRES
Magnesium, 5.5'' x 16'' Continental Ice Racing Contact 3 tyres
DIMENSIONS / WEIGHT
Length: 4,001mm Width: 1,900mm
Front/rear track: 1,690mm
Fuel tank: 25 litres