It’s was aPandamonium’ finish in the Dakar rally the Fiat Panda.
While Stephane Peterhansel may have grabbed the 2017 Dakar Rally headlines with his 13th victory in the event, there was something else which grabbed our attention.
Named the PanDakar, this Fiat Panda entered by a private team became the first Italian car to complete the gruelling Dakar. It’s true to say few Italian cars have competed before but that a ‘City Car’ with a few (alright a lot!) of tweaks finished the rally is a Fantastico achievement.
Italian Giulio Verzeletti is the man responsible for turning this town car into the Dakar conquering PanDaker.
“We’re a private team without the resources of the factory squads, although we do get a hand from Fiat,” explained Verzeletti, a veteran of 16 participations in trucks, bikes and cars. “We have to put a huge amount of effort in ourselves: I’d say around 2,000 hours of work have gone into this tiny car. The biggest limit is just its size. The suspension travel is so small that it takes a real pounding all day. You certainly feel it by the evening!”
Powering the 4×4 PanDakar was a 2.0 turbodiesel engine (the biggest one that could be fitted under the tiny bonnet) that produced 180bhp. It’s not a massive engine by any stretch of the imagination but it’s enough to see this little Italian complete the rally, that and a little Panda Power!