14 stages, 8500 km, 443 participants in 4 categories – and one name dominating amongst the trucks: IVECO. In 2012 in the legendary Rally Dakar the truck manufacturer really cleared the field: IVECO teams led in positions 1, 2 and 6. Decisive factors for this fantastic success, together with the expert driving skills and team spirit of Gerard de Rooy's team in the IVECO PowerStar (1st place), Hans Stacey (2nd Place) and Miki Biasion (6th Place), in the IVECO Trakker Evolution II, were especially the sensational reliability of IVECO vehicles and the superior power performance in particular over long and difficult stages on the sand.
In a rally such as the Dakar Rally, vehicles and in particular the performance tuned series machines must master extreme challenges: Temperatures of up to 50° C, heights up to 4000 m, ascents and downhill slopes over 30°, vibration and impact loads, dust, stone chips, salt. These are the conditions under which the gears must prove their top performance and uncompromising robustness. "Dakar" is primarily a no-compromise test for everyday reliability and steadiness of an engine. Any weaknesses are mercilessly shown up and can subsequently be eradicated to the benefit of series production. At IVECO, previous Dakar Rally experience has led, for example, to improvements of cooling fan, cooling and lubrication systems as well engine suspension. In the 2012 Rally over 8500 km through Argentina, Chile and Peru there were practically no technical failures, only those caused by external forces on tires, springs and stabilizers.
The fact is that in many of the markets served by IVECO as a global player, the road conditions are at least in part, not much different to those to be dealt with in the Dakar Rally! Crossing the Andes away from main routes and fully loaded is a typical stress profile of the rally but comparable demands are also present for example, in China. As well as "classic" truck utilization, IVECO vehicles must also meet other hard challenges. A good example for this is in the fire fighting and civil protection services. More and more often rescuer an firemen are called out to areas far removed from normal traffic routes – in forest, mountain regions, meadowland and steppe, to riverbanks, coasts, farmland or similar terrains where heavy duty performances are required for example from firefighting vehicles.
For these deployments, IVECO MAGIRUS builds special all-wheel drive fire trucks on the basis of the Trakker and EuroCargo ranges that have the same components as the Rally trucks. Massive robustness, high torsion capacity of the frame, elevated ground clearance of the axles through extremely flat design, permanent all-wheel traction and single tires with same track width are distinguishing features of these series. Equally important, especially for duty vehicles is the extremely small turning circle of the all-wheel drive trucks as well as the high load-carrying capacity for fire fighting bodywork, crew, extinguishing agents and tactical fire equipment.
The simple, intuitive operation principle makes it easy for less experienced drivers to master with confidence the IVECO all-wheel drive vehicles in all nerve-stretching training and duty situations. Not every firefighter called out on duty is a talented rally driver. Nevertheless, driving a vehicle which performance and reliability has already been proven most impressively under the most extreme conditions provides a good feeling of security – and firefighters can then gather strength for their actual tasks. For rally drivers it is important "only" to reach the target. For the operational crew however, the work only start after reaching the site of emergency. Their target is achieved only after their tasks of extinguishing fires, rescue, recovery and protection have been successfully carried out. Safe, robust, fully proven operational vehicles play a major role.
Whether on unmade terrain or on standard traffic roads and highways: Emergency vehicles with rally-proven IVECO-MAGIRUS all-wheel-drive perform reliable service everywhere and often for decades. The combination of excellent on-road performance coupled with proven off-road capability is exactly that which fire services and civil protection units expect from their vehicles. Here the test is ongoing and harder than any rally, namely, the everyday emergency duty.