Dakar 2021 marks the tenth year that the Xtreme+ team will take the Polaris RZR to Dakar: The legendary race that has shaped both the history and the future of SXS racing.
The Xtreme+ team first took the Polaris RZR to Dakar in 2012, before the SSV category was even introduced in the racing line-up. In the first year of taking on the Dakar, the Xtreme+ team claimed first place in the T3 category with driver Willy Alcaraz, making Polaris the first-ever side-by-side manufacturer to not only compete, but also to win the Dakar; a triumphant first win that set off a long streak of unbeaten Dakar rallies for Xtreme+…
Further assaults on what is arguably the world’s toughest race, the Xtreme+ team claimed the top spot of the T3 podium a further six times, from 2012 right up to 2017. Not only that, the French-based team has five Silkway Rally titles under their belt, six FIA World Championships, five Qatar Cross Country Rally titles and eight Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge wins, as well as a number of additional rally and Baja wins across the world.
Marco Piana, Xtreme+ Team Manager, said, “The Polaris RZR was the side-by-side that pioneered rally raid, and we are so happy to be celebrating ten years of racing around the world – we’ve made memories that will last a lifetime, and out of nine Dakar editions we’ve competed at, we’ve won six of them – but that doesn’t mean we’ve finished fighting for the title.”
Now, to regain their long history of podium finishes, the Xtreme+ team are returning to Dakar 2021 with a new beast behind them: The RZR Pro XP.
With many of the famous rallies across the world cancelled this year due to Covid-19, that hasn’t stopped the Xtreme+ testing efforts with the Pro XP machine, which have been vigorous in order to prepare for Dakar; known as one of the hardest and most intense off-road challenges in the world.
“This year we’re taking the new RZR Pro XP to Dakar, and wow – what an awesome machine it is,” continued Marco. “We spent six months in development with the machine – six months of hard work, studying and collaborating with Polaris to make it the best possible vehicle for the team – and the comments after just the first two days of testing were unanimous: Easy, robust, comfortable and capable for everything Dakar has to throw at it.”
Testing in Tunisia has concluded recently after 1,600 kilometres of big sandy dunes and technical rocky trails, so far completing 4,000 kilometres since the RZR Pro XP first arrived with the Xtreme+ team.
“Performance and quality are the best qualities of the Pro XP,” continued Marco. “We feel in a really good position with this vehicle and the team are super positive about what it can bring to the Dakar race. We’ve got CST Apache tyres – super resistant and reliable, and the entire drive train from Sky Works using French brand Donnere suspension is very effective. At high speed the Pro XP can overcome all obstacles and above all, it always allows last minute corrections even when obstacles appear out of ‘nowhere’ – it gives us a lot of confidence for the difficult situations that we are sure to see at Dakar.”
Testing continues in Fonjoncouse, France. The team will tackle the world’s toughest race beginning 3rd January 2021 to 15th January 2021 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
To stay up to date in the preparation for Dakar, follow the Polaris Xtreme+ team on Facebook.
For more information on the Dakar Rally, please visit www.dakar.com
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As the global leader in powersports, Polaris Inc. (NYSE: PII) pioneers product breakthroughs and enriching experiences and services that have invited people to discover the joy of being outdoors since our founding in 1954. With annual 2019 sales of $6.8 billion, Polaris’ high-quality product line-up includes the Polaris RANGER, RZR and GENERAL side-by-side off-road vehicles; Sportsman all-terrain off-road vehicles; Indian Motorcycle mid-size and heavyweight motorcycles; Slingshot moto-roadsters; snowmobiles; and deck, cruiser and pontoon boats, including industry-leading Bennington pontoons. Polaris enhances the riding experience with parts, garments and accessories, along with a growing aftermarket portfolio, including TransAmerica Auto Parts. Polaris’ presence in adjacent markets includes military and commercial off-road vehicles, quadricycles, and electric vehicles. Proudly headquartered in Minnesota, Polaris serves more than 100 countries across the globe.