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January 6, 2018

This Close-to-Stock Nissan Navara Will Take On the Dakar Rally

One man is going out of his way to prove that the Nissan Navara is a “tough and smart” truck. He’s going to take it through one of the most grueling races in the world: the Dakar Rally.

Working for the Nissan communications team in the Baltic region, Mindaugas Plukys is willing to walk the talk with his Nissan Navara. Timing for this “trip of a lifetime” expedition could not be more perfect for Mindaugas. As the Dakar Rally celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2018, he will be doing the same thing later in the year.

“There is something about the Dakar Rally which has always inspired me, and this adventure has been five years in the planning,” said Mindaugas. “I always said I’d do it before my 40th birthday, so getting to South America in January 2018 has been my goal.”

Buying the Navara in September 2017, he has been working with several aftermarket component suppliers to upgrade it in time for the race.

The Navara Mindaugas will use is pretty close to stock. It’s a Double Cab model powered by a 160-horsepower 2.3-liter diesel engine linked to a 6-speed manual transmission. Finished in Flame Red, the ride height has been raised by 40 millimeters with an Old Man Emu suspension system. A Rival underbody protection system has also been fitted. At each corner is 18-inch black alloy wheels with Cooper Discoverer ST Maxx tires. The exterior is completed by a Hella LED light bar, roof-mounted Thule crossbars and Lazer Triple R 16 LED lights, Nissan side and rear bumper bars, and a plastic load liner and aluminum load cover. Inside, it’s pretty much standard with the exception of 4 additional USB ports and a 220-volt power converter.

“The tough and smart character of the Nissan Navara makes it the perfect vehicle for this adventure,” said Mindaugas. “Apart from the suspension upgrades and body protection, it’s a standard vehicle. Every other new component is there to make life easier. The route through South America will be hard, but I expect the Navara to cope with it.”

The Dakar Rally is a hugely popular sporting event with Lithuanian car fans. Competing in the 2018 edition are three drivers, two co-drivers and a motorcyclist, all from a country with less than three million inhabitants.

Mindaugas, who is accompanied by photographer Andrius Laucius, will be following the competitors as they leave the Dakar Rally start line on January 6. Two weeks, 14 stages, 9,000 km and three countries later, the pair plan to be crossing the finishing line in Cordoba, Argentina.

To follow Mindaugas’s journey, check out the official Facebook page here.

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