Fire Forces Pewano team out of Dakar Rally

The Swedish team Pewano never got the chance to show their full capacity during the world’s toughest race

The 2012 Dakar Rally. Half way into the first special, the violent fire forced Alfie Cox and Jürgen Schröder to abandon the PEWANO XC60 RR.

The Pewano Rally Raid team from Sweden entered the starting line at the 2012 Dakar Rally in a Volvo XC60 RR car built with TeXtreme Spread Tow carbon fabrics. The 2012 Dakar Rally is the 33rd running of the event and this year’s race starts in Argentina and finishes in Peru.

The car has a design based on Volvo XC60 with a carbon fibre body, the Rally Raid car is, however, 180 mm wider than the regular XC60. For the bodywork composite parts using TeXtreme carbon reinforcements due its weight saving and mechanical performance benefits.

TeXtreme Spread Tow Reinforcements use spread tows to produce optimised reinforcements for ultra light composites. Spreading tows into very thin tapes enables production of both unidirectional and woven reinforcements that present improved mechanical performance and weight savings that are unrivalled compared to conventional reinforcements.

Pewano, however, did not get an opportunity to compete to their capacity. Halfway into the first special a fire forced driver Alfie Cox and co-driver Jürgen Schröder to abandon the car. Very positively both Cox and Schröder got out of the car unharmed.

Hans Sönksen, Team Manager of Pewano, says:

The car went up in flames, there’s nothing left”, says Hans Sönksen, Team Manager of Pewano. He continues: “We are terribly disappointed and sad. We knew this would not be easy, but that the car would catch fire, was not even a conceivable scenario. During 14 days of racing you always have to be prepared for mechanical problems, but since we had all the necessary fire equipment and had secured all flammable material – even in our wildest imagination – we had not been able to predict this.

It was during the first stage between Mar del Plata and Santa Rosa de la Pampa, after a couple hours of faultless driving, that something went wrong. With the car gutted by the flames, it’s not possible to determine what caused the fire, but we believe that a leak in either the power steering pump or one of the hoses in the power steering system was the cause.

For the last couple of months everyone in the Pewano team has worked day and night for this race, and to see the car get burned into ashes – there’s only one word to describe the overall feeling: emptiness. Everybody associated with the project stand equally heartbroken. We were set to bring the car to the finish in Lima, regardless of results, and now we are deprived of that opportunity.

Driver Alfie Cox comments:

It could have been much worse, we escaped and we are shocked, but otherwise fine. I feel truly sorry for the team; they worked really hard in preparing the car. Now we will re-group, and plan our way forward.

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