With sales of the Dacia Duster rising, officials of the Romanian auto company, a subsidiary of French automaker Renault, have taken aim at another lofty objective — the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado, according to insideline.com. A race-modified version of the four-wheel-drive compact crossover is entered in the June 26 “race to the clouds,” the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The Dacia Duster “No Limit” edition features an 850-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine and six-speed sequential gearbox. Jean-Philippe Dayraut, a five-time champion of the French national ice racing series Trophee Andros, will be the driver. The one-off car was built by subcontractors Tork Engineering and Sodemo, in association with Renault Sport Technologies. It will compete in the premier Unlimited Class in this year’s 89th running of the hill climb, first held in 1916.
According to a Dacia press release, it was Dayraut who envisioned the entry in the classic American race.”The Pikes Peak Hill Climb is the only event where you get to keep a monster like this in check while drifting at speeds of 200 kph on a course which features a mix of asphalt and dirt,” Dayraut said. “I can’t think of any other form of motorsport where such cars are authorized.” Dayraut will have formidable competition. Among the entries is Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima, who established the overall course record of 10 minutes, 1 second on July 21, 2007, in a midengine Suzuki XL7 Hill Climb Special. The 60-year-old Japanese driver is a seven-time champion at Pikes Peak.