The Bargain of the Year: Dacia Duster
Can the UK’s cheapest 4x4 survive the Southern Hemisphere’s harshest mountains?
Posted: 09 Jan 2013
Monstrous mountains mean colon-puckering mountain roads. Beyond the hydroelectric plant at Huallanca, the canyon track climbs violently, switchbacking up a steep face before diving into a tunnel and emerging into the most freakish vista I have ever seen: a pair of opposing cliffs, each a couple of miles high, separated by barely 20 yards in places. The road is simply hacked along one straight-up cliff wall, a teetering path with 55 narrow tunnels blasted through the rock. There are no barriers, and the drop to the Río Santa below is - what? - 1,000 feet straight down. I locate my right testicle somewhere near my ribcage. This isn't misplaced fear: Peru boasts one of the worst vehicle death rates in the world, and this is one of its most dangerous roads. The Cañón del Pato is lined with makeshift crosses marking where cars, buses and trucks have plunged over the edge. The tunnels don't offer much respite. Barely a car's width in sections, they twist within the mountain, meaning you can't see what's coming the other way when you enter. There's only one thing for it: pray. And gun it.