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When an F1 team saw a Dakar victory go up in smoke

The Minardi Formula 1 team decided to participate in the world's most famous desert rally in 1986: the Dakar Rally. The team seemed to be doing well, even though it decided to participate with a truck instead of a car. RacingNews365 looks back on the rally adventure of the F1 team with owner Giancarlo Minardi.

Minardi Dakar 1986
To news overview © minardi.it

F1 enthusiasts will know the name Minardi from Formula 1. The Italian racing team was active in the premier class between 1985 and 2005 and well-known drivers such as Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Jos Verstappen once drove for the team. The team was later sold to Red Bull and appeared on the grid in 2006 as Toro Rosso, now AlphaTauri.

One year after Minardi debuted in Formula 1, the team also signed a deal for another major car and motorsport event. In 1986 the team decided to participate in the Dakar Rally. Owner and namesake of the F1 team, Giancarlo Minardi, revealed to RacingNews365 that a good friend of his came up with the idea.

The F1 team 'felt something for it' and that is why it was decided to participate. That good friend also had a truck and that is why the team registered with the trucks.

“It was not easy to convert a truck that was not actually designed for racing into a fast racing truck,” Minardi admits.

The mistake that proved fatal for Minardi

"That was a huge challenge, which we had to tackle during the season in addition to the F1 activities. Still, we managed to make a car that went quickly over the dunes, despite the lack of experience we had." The Italian believes that with more experience they could have progressed further in the Dakar Rally.

"I think we could have done well in the future, but we simply lost too much time with our Formula 1 project. That's why we couldn't take on another full-time project focused on Dakar. It was of course also much more "It was a friendly project, it was definitely not just about performance," said Minardi.

Despite this, the team performed better than expected. "Towards the end of the rally we were even in second place in the truck rankings." However, everything ultimately fell through due to an error during the conversion of the truck. "The electrical wiring was not installed properly and that ultimately cost us dearly.

"Because the wiring was not completely perfect, a fire could eventually break out in the truck. That was of course a shame for the team, but also for our drivers. They could no longer change anything about the situation and as a result our truck eventually burned down completely and the Dakar adventure came to an end for us."

			© minardi.it
	© minardi.it

'That would have been different later'

Minardi's Dakar adventure ended in tears, but the Italian is still proud of what the team achieved at the time. He also expects that the team could have scored well in a repeat performance.

"I think if we had had more time in the years that followed, we could have been even more competitive. Now the engineers and mechanics in the team had to do everything without experience, but that would have been different in the years that followed."

Minardi never took part in the Dakar rally again and then returned to the premier class of motorsport, Formula 1.

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