Currently reading: Dacia Sandrider makes public debut at Geneva motor show
Dakar racer inspired by Manifesto concept uses Nissan Z V6 running on synthetic fuel

The Dacia Sandrider has made its public debut at the Geneva motor show ahead of its entry into the fearsome Dakar rally.

The new carbonfibre-bodied rally raider, inspired by the Manifesto concept and engineered by Prodrive, is called the Sandrider and has been designed according to the same 'no frills' ethos of Dacia road cars – albeit with a greater focus on aerodynamic efficiency and off-road ability.

It stays remarkably true to the Manifesto in its conception, wearing “only the absolutely necessary body panels” and featuring a modular dashboard that can be rearranged according to the needs of the race crew. 

Dacia claims that this approach has made the Sandrider around 15kg lighter than the competition.

Dacia Sandrider at Geneva motor show – side

It now has doors, though, for obvious reasons, and the chassis has been extensively upgraded and reinforced in line with its dune-bashing billing. 

Its weight distribution is biased towards the front axle, in order to improve traction on loose surfaces.

It's powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 – understood to be based on that used by sibling brand Nissan's 400Z coupé – that will run on synthetic fuel and send 355bhp and 398lb ft of torque to both axles through a six-speed sequential gearbox. 

Dacia Sandrider at Geneva motor show – rear

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Several details on the Sandrider are inspired by its crew’s rally-raid experience. The body, for example, features a magnetic strip that allows drivers and mechanics to safely stow wheel nuts while they change a flat tyre, rather than risk losing them in the sand.

Similarly, the Sabelt seats are lined with anti-bacterial and humidity-regulating fabric and the dashboard is finished in anti-reflective paint to reduce glare.

Dacia Sandrider interior

To further improve comfort, anti-infrared pigments have been embedded into the car’s carbonfibre bodywork, reducing cabin temperatures.

The Sandrider will first be driven in anger at October's Morocco Rally, before it takes to the grid for the 2025 World Rally-Raid Championship, with nine-time rally champion Sébastian Loeb, five-time Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah and Rally-Raid World Cup winner Cristina Gutiérrez sharing driving duties.

Charlie Martin

Charlie Martin Autocar
Title: Editorial Assistant, Autocar

As a reporter, Charlie plays a key role in setting the news agenda for the automotive industry. He joined Autocar in July 2022 after a nine-month stint as an apprentice with sister publication, What Car?. He's previously contributed to The Intercooler, and placed second in Hagerty’s 2019 Young Writer competition with a feature on the MG Metro 6R4

He is the proud owner of a Fiat Panda 100HP, and hopes to one day add a lightweight sports car like an Alpine A110 or a Lotus Elise S1 to his collection.

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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