Mercedes-Benz M-Class carries off two trophies in FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies in 2000 and repeats this success in 2001!
- Jean-Pierre Strugo wins "Marathon Trophy" in ML 430
Stuttgart -- In this year's FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies, the Mercedes-Benz M-class gave an impressive display of its technical superiority and reliability: at the wheel of an ML 430, independent French driver Jean-Pierre Strugo won the "Marathon Trophy" drivers' title in the production class cross-country vehicles group. Though not represented by a factory team, Mercedes-Benz carried off the production class manufacturers' title.
The 55-year-old rally driver for the Georges Groine team from Aubiere near Clermont-Ferrand in central France obtained a total of 255 points, putting him well ahead of the second-placed driver, who collected 142 points. With a total of 186 points, Mercedes-Benz took the manufacturers' title for production cross-country vehicles by a comfortable margin.
The FIA "World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies" this year comprised nine long-distance rallies through France, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Russia, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates. These rallies, each lasting several weeks, such as the Paris-Dakar-Cairo rally, are held for the most part in rough terrain, barren desert and primeval forest, and rank among the most gruelling in the world.
The ML 430 was entered by the Groine Developpement Compétition team in group T 1 for "production cross-country cars". Technical features of this vehicle include the electronically controlled 4ETS four-wheel drive system. Using microcomputer control, 4ETS distributes the drive torque to the front and rear axles as the situation requires and ensures that optimum tractive power is directed to the wheels with good grip. This system replaces conventional differential locks. The driving force behind the ML430 and ML320 are powerful V8 and V6 engines with twin-spark ignition, three valves per cylinder and wide, high-torque bands starting below 3000 rpm.
In the FIA World Cup overall rankings, ML 430 driver Jean-Pierre Strugo came
fifth in a field numbering well over 100 drivers, but many using custom
built cross country machines.
1. 263 Jean-Pierre Strugo - Serge Ducoutumany T1 (ML430)
In 2001, the MLs do it again!
Following his 2000 World Cup win Jean-Pierre Strugo repeats this tremendous success and wins the 2001 Cross Country World Cup Production Trophy in a ML430 with 182 points, closely followed by Thierry Magnaldi on place 2 in a ML430 with 140 points, G. Lansac (ML430) on place 4, the Menguys (ML320) on 20th, Johnny Hallyday (ML430) and Didier Mallinjoud (ML430) tie for 31st and Jean-Pierre Ducroux (ML430) places a respectable 34th. Nine rallies which last up to several weeks each, were held throughout the year, and passed through some of the most deserted and unforgiving terrain, crossing France, Spain, Morocco, the Sahara desert, Mauritania, Mali, Senegal, Italy, Tunisia, Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Portugal, Argentina and the United Arab Emirates.
The factory-independant teams were supported by Groine Developpment Compétition during the rallies. In 1982 Georges Groine won the Dakar in a Unimog and in 1983 he won the truck division again in a Mercedes Actros 1936 AK, while helping Jacky Ickx win the car division with a 280GE.
Mercedes-Benz takes the Production Class Manufacturers' Trophy with 160 points, once again demonstrating the technical superiority and reliability of the 4ETS four-wheel drive system, the four-wheel independant suspension, and the V8 and V6 engines with twin spark ignition, three valves per cylinder, extremely durable silicon low-friction liners and wide, high-torque bands starting below 3000 rpm.
In the FIA World Cup overall rankings, ML 430 driver Jean-Pierre Strugo placed 8. in a field numbering well over 170 drivers, many using highly modified cross country machines or prototypes.
Mercedes-Benz teams completing the Dakar 2001
In 2002, the MLs win for the third time!
Mercedes-Benz takes the Cross Country Manufacturers' Trophy with 54
points, once again demonstrating the technical superiority and
reliability of the 4ETS four-wheel drive system, the four-wheel
independant suspension, and the V8 and V6 engines with twin spark
ignition, three valves per cylinder, extremely durable silicon
low-friction liners and wide, high-torque bands starting below 3000 rpm.
Nissan places second with 36 points, closely followed by
DaimlerChrysler's Mitsubishi with 32 points on place three.
Eight cross country rallies were held throughout the year:
2002 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies: Manufacturer's Trophy: Mercedes wins
4 is the lucky number - In 2003, the MLs win for the fourth time!
Mercedes wins the FIA Cross Country World Cup Manufacturers' Trophy for the fourth consecutive time. Jean Pierre Strugo receives the third best cross country driver award overall, in production and in the prototype class. Navigator Pascal Larroque receives the second best co-driver award overall, in production and in prototypes, while Yves Ferry places third as co-driver. Team Groine earned a well deserved third place among all teams.
2003 FIA WORLD CUP for Cross-Country Rallies: Manufacturer's Trophy: Mercedes wins