Fiat Siena from Hertz ploughs through Dakar
The Dakar Rally is going through an adventurous period this decade, starting off with a woman winning the event in 2001 and in 2009 it even moved out of the actual Dakar to South America. This year, however, marks another notable first - it is probably the first time a RENTAL car is entered in the rallye!
Yes, that's right. Three crazy guys from Down Under - Christophe Barriere-Varju, a business consultant and principal driver, Simon Lee - filmmaker, and Jacob Black reporting for Australia's SBS television rented out a regular Fiat Siena from Hertz and entered it in the competition that started on the New Year's day.
And, so far, it's going strong!
To be fair, the number starting with 9 would indicate it was "entered" as a press vehicle rather than a competitive one, but still, it has to endure the same route as the "regular" participants.
The Fiat Siena is a mainstay of the Fiat's lineup in Argentina, where the 2010 rallye starts and ends, and is being built locally. Launched a decade and half ago and revamped many times since then, it is a sedan version of Fiat's Palio "world car" designed for developing markets where durability and ability to make it through substandard roads (or lack thereof) counts for more than modern comforts. Although it had the most success in Latin America, the Palio family has travelled through most of the roads and off-roads of the world, with the Siena being made for a period in China (as Fiat Perla) and even North Korea (as Pyonghwa Hwiparam).
The Siena is available in flexfuel and tetrafuel versions (burnigng fuels ranging from regular gasoline through natural gas to ethanol and E85-like gas/ethanol mixtures), although it is not known if the Dakar vehicle has any alternative fuel fitments.
You can follow the Team Rally Australia Dream Racer here:
* Christophe's official Team Rally Australia here - http://www.teamrallyaustralia.com/-
* Simon Lee's blog - http://dreamracer.tumblr.com/
* Jacob Black's Dakar blog for SBS - http://www.sbs.com.au/sport/blog/mai...lhc-latest-tab