Chilean gas distributor Gasco and Argentinian manufacturer of vehicle conversion components Pelmag GNC demonstrated for the second year running the effectiveness of natural gas as a vehicle fuel through strong results in the extreme 2011 Dakar Rally. Building on last year’s experience, the AutoGasco team’s compressed natural gas (CNG) powered vehicles placed 25th, 29th and 48th out of 156 starting vehicles in the ‘car’ section, of which only 55 finished. Additionally, the team took 2nd and 3rd places (and 5th) in the ecological category.
During the event the vehicles caught the attention of Chilean president Sebastián Piñera, who enjoyed a drive of one of three Toyotas and talked about the particular benefits of this fuel with the members of the greenest team of the Dakar Rally. The drivers, Jorge Latrach (Toyota Prado #354 – 25th), Fernando León (Toyota Landcruiser #351 – 29th) and Ignacio Casales (Toyota Landcruiser #401 – 48th) were the first three Chileans to finish also.
At the end of Stage 9 the team manager, Jose Miguel Mello, acknowledged the importance of the Dakar in this ambitious venture, as reported by Motorsport. “Good results in such a difficult event are the proof that this fuel source can play a role in day-to-day life. There are already 10 to 12 million vehicles running on this type of fuel in the world. For us, the idea is to develop its use in taxis and vans in Chile and Argentina, based on the performances of our three cars”.
Gasco installed Pelmag’s 5th generation technology, Smart model for each of the V6, 4000 cc engines.