– American racer Casey Currie joins team to drive Cam-Am for first time
– Dakar SxS category winner Reinaldo Varela returns to Can-Am action
– Polish off-road champion Marcin Lukaszewski drives third Maverick X3
– Portugal’s André Villas Boas and Ruben Faria complete five vehicle line-up
The South Racing Can-Am Team has entered five Maverick X3s in Morocco’s Merzouga Rally, the first round of the ASO’s Dakar Series, which is based in Merzouga and takes place under the patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco on April 15-20.
Renowned American racer Casey Currie joins the South Racing Can-Am Team for the first time. Born into a motor sport family, the California driver began racing motorcycles at the age of five and was behind the wheel of a race truck at 16.
His career progressed with wins in the MDR series and he finished second in ProTruck in the Baja 1000 and third in the Class 1 Car in the Baja 500. Currie expanded his horizons into SuperMoto and then switched to a successful spell in short course off-road racing.
Latterly, he has taken part in Monster Jam events, the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series in the USA and both the SCORE Baja 500 and Baja 1000 races before embarking upon the Can-Am project with South Racing.
The Brazilian duo of Reinaldo Varela and Gustavo Gugelmin will be hoping to continue the superb run of form that saw them claim the prestigious SxS category victory for the South Racing Can-Am Team on the Maverick X3’s first appearance at the Dakar Rally in January. It will be Varela’s first outing since that famous victory in Córdoba and a repeat performance is the objective for the South American pairing.
The Polish duo of Marcin Lukaszewski and Magdalena Duhanik clinched the 2017 Polish Cross-Country Championship (RMPST) and the FIA Central European Zone Cross-Country Championship (FIA-CEZ) in a South Racing-run car and have switched to the SxS category for 2018. They crew the third Maverick X3 as part of a crucial training programme to ready them for an attempt at the Dakar Rally in the SxS category in 2019.
Former Premier League soccer manager André Villas-Boas and well-known enduro rider Ruben Faria took part in the recent Baja do Pinhal, the opening round of their native Portuguese National Championship of Cross-Country Rallies (CNTT), and they will drive a pair of Maverick X3s in North Africa.
Villas-Boas and navigator Gonçalo Magalhães began their first CNTT event in the APPACDM do Porto-branded Can-Am cautiously and speeded up as the event progressed. They reached the finish in 20th overall in the SSV category. Faria and Pedro Velosa were classified in 36th position but had been running as high as fifth place after the first day in Portugal. Both crews will be looking to build upon that crucial experience in Morocco.
Scott Abraham, managing director of South Racing, said: « It is great to be back racing with the Dakar-winning Can Am Maverick X3s. We are coming off a development phase after Dakar and will be testing before the Merzouga Rally to further unlock the potential of the Dakar spec units. We have a great driver line-up and I am really looking forward to a great team with a diverse group of crews as well as our great South Racing technical and logistic team that are the heart of the operation.
« We will be running two specifications of the Can-Am Maverick X3: Reinaldo, Casey and Marcin will be running the Dakar spec units and André and Ruben will be in the modified stock vehicles. The stock units are amazing machines and live up to their name as the ‘Alpha Side-by -Side’. »
The Can-Am Maverick X3s are powered by 172hp 900cm³,Rotax ACE turbo-charged engines. Development work is ongoing, but the SxS category victory at the 2018 Dakar Rally and several stage victories marked a terrific start to the programme as well as dominating all US off road series.
The Merzouga Rally is in the Dakar Series for a third year. Action will take place over five desert selective sections on April 16-20 and the timetable also includes one Marathon bivouac before the finish in Merzouga on April 20.