Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 - Isuzu Motorsports, Garland Motorsports
Australian Dakar Rally veteran Bruce Garland has posted first in class at the famous Finke Desert Race, with his all-new 2012 Isuzu D-MAX making the model’s official international offroad racing debut.

Just 16 months after major heart surgery at Melbourne’s MonashHeart, Garland has ticked off the first step of his preparation for the 2013 Dakar Rally with his run in the outback classic.

The 37th annual race from Alice Springs to the remote settlement of Finke, and back again, is one of the Sydney-based racer’s favourite events and an ideal way to test this fifth variant of the D-MAX that Garland has built for Dakar competition.

“First in class plus 27th outright against all those little buggies is a great result and we’re very happy with it,” Garland says.

“More importantly, though, it was a good first run for the new car, and we know that with just a little more work it will be a really strong package for Dakar.

“We had a great run down to Finke [Sunday, June 10] but not so good on the way back [Monday, June 11]. The track was badly cut up and we had a few problems with the suspension. I’m a bit sore as a result but we can fix me and fix the suspension and we’ll be on track with our preparation.

“We certainly had no trouble with tyres like so many teams did. One of the items we were testing this time was our new Toyo tyres and they were fantastic so that’s another tick in another box.”

While Garland was obviously keen for a strong result, the main aim was to dial in the new car and test new shocks, aerodynamic package and tyres. He was not testing a new engine. The Dakar organisation has changed the rules for this year and the Isuzu Motorsports D-MAX already matches the spec in terms of speed, so Garland and his crew can do no more than make sure the engine is as tough and reliable as it can be.

Next box to tick off is the Australasian Safari in WA (September 21-29) when Garland and long-term co-driver Harry Suzuki hope to rewrite the history books with the D-MAX as first diesel to win the event.

They then head to South America in December with some serious unfinished business – after a DNF in 2010 and last year’s disastrous crash in which Garland fractured a vertebra, they really want to improve on their 2009 result of 11th outright. The 2013 Dakar runs from January 5-20, through Peru, Argentina and Chile.

Thousands of spectators lined the rough desert track between Alice Springs and the small Aputula (Finke) community to watch more than 600 competitors (cars, buggies, 4WDs, bikes and quads) tackle one of the world’s most difficult offroad courses in one of the world’s most remote areas.

The D-MAX competed in the Extreme 4WD class for highly modified 4WDs with engines under 7200cc (diesel or 6000cc (petrol). The D-MAX, hand-built in Garland’s Sydney workshop, puts out 180kW of power and 590Nm of torque.

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Liz Swanton, Media Liaison Isuzu Motorsports, Garland Motorsports

P: 02 9771 1277
M: 0417 232 643
W: www.isuzumotorsports.com/

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Finke Desert Race, 2012 Isuzu D-MAX

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