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Dakar Rally in South America Hosts K&N Sponsored Dutch Team

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South America hosted the 31st Dakar for the first time in the race’s history. Organizers changed the location from Africa to South America in 2009. The 2008 event was cancelled because of terrorist activity along the race’s route in Mauritania. Organizers were determined to have a rally in 2009.

Michel De Groot drove the Mc Rae Enduro in the 2009 Dakar Rally
Michel De Groot drove the Mc Rae Enduro in the 2009 Dakar Rally

One of the best Dutch female drivers, Gaby Uljee, navigated through 9,000 km of different terrain in South America for the Dakar Rally
One of the best Dutch female drivers, Gaby Uljee, navigated through 9,000 km of different terrain in South America for the Dakar Rally
Nearly 850 racers with 500 vehicles spent their last day before the January race in the Argentine capital readying for an extreme adventure between two oceans. The round trip started and finished in Beunos Aires.
The Dutch Vicking Team used K&N filters to help get through Chile's Atacama Desert in the Dakar Rally
The Dutch Vicking Team used K&N filters to help get through Chile's Atacama Desert in the Dakar Rally

The 2009 Dakar started in Buenos Aires, Argentina to Patagonia, into the Andes Mountains and then Chile's Atacama Desert back to Buenos Aires
The 2009 Dakar started in Buenos Aires, Argentina to Patagonia, into the Andes Mountains and then Chile's Atacama Desert back to Buenos Aires

Competitors faced a number of different terrains and obstacles south to Patagonia, to the Andes Mountains and then through Chile’s Atacama Desert. Dakar Rally drivers are familiar with the problems of sand in the African desert where eight of the fifteen stages of the rally were held in previous years.

K&N sponsored racer Michel De Groot finished the Dakar twice on a motorcycle in 2006 and 2007. The Dutchman hit the South American continent in a car for the first time in 2009. He said he does not have a preference between motorcycles or cars, he just had to wait longer to race a car in the Dakar because it cost more to operate. De Groot was teamed with fellow Dutchman Gaby Uljee, a navigator who finished the Dakar in 2007. The Dutch Vicking Team car was built by Alister McRae, brother of the famous WRX champion Colin McRae.

De Groot and Uljee hit the first stage of the race in La Pampa. They faced more than 400 km of rolling routes and vast plains. The second stage of the Dakar was 837 km from Santa Rosa to Puerto Madryn and was the longest of the stages. It was full of difficult sand. De Groot has been a proud user of K&N for several years. He is familiar with the engine protection and filtration K&N filters provided through the dust, silt and sand.

The Vicking Team encountered a big change in the terrain in Patagonia with more hills, and lakes that border the route during the 694 km stage three from Puerto Madryn to Jacobacci. The Rally course was 9,000 km with seventeen stages. The Dutch team said there main goal was to finish the Dakar and they did. Overall they placed 39th and first in their class (T3).

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K&N Engineering, Inc., with headquarters in Riverside, California, has been the world's leader in performance filter technology since 1969, serving the needs of the automotive, motorcycle, marine, industrial and military markets. K&N is heavily involved in nearly every form of motorsports from off-road and powersports to drag racing, stock cars and road racing. For more information about K&N Filters, please contact K&N Engineering, Inc., P.O. Box 1329, Riverside, CA 92502-1329, (800) 213-4182 for a dealer near you, (800) 858-3333 for technical service/questions, (951) 826-4001 Fax, e-mail tech@knfilters.com, or visit www.knfilters.com.