Feb 15, 2020
The Dakar Rally and Africa Eco Race, both famous for punishing machinery, affirm the superior usability and durability of Allison Automatics
The advantages of Allison fully automatic transmissions over automated manual and manual transmissions were proven spectacularly in January in two of the toughest motorsport competitions on earth. Allison-equipped vehicles claimed the majority of top-ten positions in the truck division on the 12-day Dakar Rally 2020, and two days later an Allison-equipped Scania won the truck category in the 15-day Africa Eco Race.
“Successful teams in both these events demonstrated the significant benefits of having an Allison fully automatic transmission,” said Sjoerd Vos, Allison’s Director of Marketing, EMEA. “An Allison makes the task of driving easier and safer, responds to throttle commands in exactly the way the driver wants it to, and continues to perform reliably even when subjected to brutally bumpy surfaces and ferocious heat for days on end. For these reasons, Allison’s transmissions are fast becoming essential in endurance rallies.”
The Africa Eco Race (January 4-19) sent 54 cars and trucks (plus motorcycles and competition ‘specials’) across rough, rocky, and sandy desert in the northwest corner of the continent. Starting in the port city of Tangier, this 4,040-mile (6,500 km) event ran through Morocco, Mauritania, and Senegal, with 2,600 miles (4,200 km) of timed competition over 12 stages.
The winning truck in this event, by the margin of three-and-a-half hours after 50 hours of competitive driving, was the Scania Torpedo of the Hungarian Qualisport Racing Team. The Torpedo’s 13-litre engine delivers its 4,700 Nm of torque through a 4000 SeriesTM Allison transmission.
“The Allison transmission made it a real pleasure driving among the dunes because there was no need to work a clutch pedal or lever,” said Qualisport’s victorious driver, Miklós Kovács. “This meant I could always hold the steering wheel with both hands, a great advantage in demanding driving, and I could place my left leg to stabilise myself in the truck. And because the transmission responds so well to the driver’s throttle commands, there was always strong but smooth acceleration to power out of the dunes. Not once did we lose any time having to dig out of deep sand, which is when rally raids can so easily be lost.”
The world-famous Dakar Rally took place for the first time this year (January 5-17) in the Saudi Arabian desert. Starting in Jeddah on the Red Sea, the route ran east as far as the oil and gas fields of the Al-Hasa region, before turning back to finish just outside the capital city of Riyadh. Some 46 trucks (as well as cars, motorcycles, quads, and ‘specials’) faced punishing variations in temperature, humidity and altitude over a 4,850-mile (7,800 km) route comprising 3,100 miles (5,000 km) of timed special stages.
When the battle-scarred survivors reached the end of this event, trucks with Allison transmissions held most of the top ten positions.
“We decided to use the Allison for the Dakar. We have a big advantage in the sand and the dunes,” said multiple Dakar winner Gerard de Rooy of Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco.
Allison Transmission’s 4000 Series is available globally for a wide range of vocational applications with close- or wide-ratio gearing and up to seven speeds including two overdrive ratios and a second reverse gear. Engine-driven Power Take-Off (PTO) is available as an option, as is an integral output retarder which enhances vehicle braking and reduces wheel-brake wear. Operation is further enhanced by Allison’s 5th Generation advanced electronic controls, which also have prognostics capabilities to monitor filter, fluid, and clutch life remaining.
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