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At next year’s Dakar Rally, the official Renault Duster Team will field two very powerful and very modified Dusters. If you’ve been reading Top Gear at any point over the last few years, you will quickly realise this is Good News.

Renaultsport is in charge of building and fielding the two Dusters in the gruelling rally next year, in a bid to finish in the top ten. As such, the two teams have already competed in three rounds of the Argentinian Rally Cross-Country championship in preparation (one win, three runner-up results).

Both Dusters - marketed as Renault Dusters in South America, Dacia for us in the UK - will be equipped with V8 engines from the Renault Nissan Alliance producing 380bhp. That’s right, 380bhp in a Duster.

No more technical information has been given, but you can expect the full suite of Dakar-friendly gear - roll cage, upgraded suspension, brakes, cooling, underbody protection, stiffened chassis etc etc - to be applied.

“At Renault Sport Technologies we like all types of challenges and the Dakar Rally is one of the biggest of our time,” said RST’s Christophe Chapelain. “Our involvement in this project is logical; we will be able to bring innovative technical solutions while also demonstrating the innate off-road qualities of the Duster throughout the first two weeks of January.”

We can’t wait. Stay tuned for more updates…

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