Chinese automaker Foton Motor is out to prove itself this year at the 36th Edition of the Dakar Rally. The annual desert rally is considered the world’s most extreme automotive competition, notorious for being the harshest and most dangerous; it is followed by millions of people worldwide.
The two-weeklong rally from January 5 to 18 runs through nearly 5,000 kilometers of mixed extreme terrain in South America. The rally route runs from Rosario, Argentina through Bolivia and finishes in the Chilean city of Valpariaso.
The Chinese automaker is fielding two Tunland (Thunder) pickup truck based competition vehicles with experienced drivers and navigators from Chile. Eguiguren Luis and Claudio Espinoza drives truck number 369, while father and son tandem Chicharro Alvaro and Cicharro Alvaro Jr. will drive the 411 truck. Both pickups will be assigned a Foton Auman truck as support vehicles running through a similar route throughout the competition.
The Chinese automaker was quite frugal with their vehicle specs. Only revealing that the vehicles were prepared in-house at the Foton factory, under the hood is a GM 5.3-liter V8 engine.
Foton is the third brand to enter the Dakar Rally after Chery and Great Wall Motor with their Haval global brand. As of presstime, entry 369 did not make it to the starting line; Entry 411 is still running.