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THE 2022 DAKAR CLASSIC: MOTUL BRAND CHIEF COMPETES IN A LADA NIVA

13.01.2022

Capturing the spirit of the original Paris-Dakar Rally, the Dakar Classic was launched last year in Saudi Arabia. It’s a new category that sees some of the star cars from an earlier period in Dakar history taking to the hallowed roads again. Following much success and interest in the category, the field of entrants has grown from 25 vehicles last year to more than 140 this year. One of those people taking part is our very own head of brand, Romain Grabowski. Let’s take a look at Romain’s first Dakar and some of the other cars he’s competing against.

THE 2022 DAKAR CLASSIC: MOTUL BRAND CHIEF COMPETES IN A LADA NIVA

Romain, what vehicles can take part in the Dakar Classic?

This category is open to vehicles from 1979, the year the Dakar was invented by Thierry Sabine, to 2000. Our car is one of the oldest participating. It’s a Lada Niva from 1982.

Romain, what vehicles can take part in the Dakar Classic?

Why are you taking part?

Dakar has always been a family topic. Something I used to talk about with my father, Denis Grabowski, for many years. He was passionate about the Dakar and participated three times in the 1980s.

Why are you taking part?

Tell us more about your car

In the garage we had the original Lada Niva that my father used and kept until 2003. Sadly, that car was sold, but I found one really similar and I started to think about doing Dakar myself. It has always been a dream of mine. When I was at the Dakar in 2021, killing time on a liaison bus to the next bivouac, I spotted a Lada Niva on “le bon coin” with exactly the same specifications as my father’s and I immediately bought it. When I took delivery, I started to turn it into my father’s car. Now, if you could put both cars next to one another you would not be able to tell the difference.

Tell us more about your car

What did you do to make your car eligible for the rally?

We have been working a lot on the suspension because the very first thing I learned a few years ago when I started rally is that the suspension is key to not damage the car. If you go on such an event with bad suspension, you will break everything because of the vibration. I didn’t want to upgrade the car too much because the more you upgrade the more you lose reliability.

What did you do to make your car eligible for the rally?

How is the car holding up during the Dakar Classic?

It’s extremely important every night (after the stages) to have a routine to check everything. We have a classic car specialist on the team. First, we do a visual control just to make sure (everything’s working) and to check the damage on the car. We are planning to do three oil changes during the event and this is important for the car. Every night we find a few things to improve and repair. It’s extremely important for the brain, because when we are leaving the bivouac, we are leaving with peace of mind.

How is the car holding up during the Dakar Classic?

Some of the other cars taking part in the Dakar Classic: Porsche 911 G-Series Safari

Some of the other cars taking part in the Dakar Classic: Porsche 911 G-Series Safari

Buggy Sunhill

Buggy Sunhill

Toyota Land Cruiser BJ40

Toyota Land Cruiser BJ40

Fiat Panda Sisley

Fiat Panda Sisley

Suzuki Vitara

Suzuki Vitara

Mercedes Koro 280GE

Mercedes Koro 280GE

Mitsubishi Pajero

Mitsubishi Pajero

Man Kat V8

Man Kat V8

Peugeot 205 T16

Peugeot 205 T16

Land Rover Range Rover

Land Rover Range Rover

Toyota Land Cruiser 80-Series

© Pictures: ASO / DPI