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Ford’s Mustang-powered Dakar Rangers

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Imagine you’re Ford, and you want to race off-road for more than 5000 miles between Argentina to Chile in next year’s Dakar rally. Yes, you have a 411hp, 6.2-litre V8 F-150 SVT Raptor in store, but that’d be too easy. Instead, you ask your SUV-fond South African office to come up with something a little less… blunt. Something lighter. Something more precise.

And this is it. A composite-bodied, Ford Ranger with a six-speed sequential gearbox, liquid-cooled rear brake setup, 132-gallon fuel tank, and a 5.0-litre V8 from a Mustang that’s geared for endurance, not power. In fact, at 350hp, it’s 61hp down on the Raptor and it tops out at just 105mph.

The first driver crew’s been confirmed as Lucio Alvarez and Ronnie Graue. These are a handy pair - on their first outing in 2011 they finished 17th overall, fifth in 2012, and last year they crept up to third place before mechanical failures dropped them down to 27th. Their entry into the 35th running of the event - and the sixth successive running in South America - should prove a little more fruitful with the Ranger.

What would you drive the Dakar in, TopGear.commers?

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