Wildcat evolution on Dakar


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The Wildcat Trophy Day held in Narbonne, southern France over the weekend of August 29th and 30th was graced by many of the leading lights from international rally raid teams.

wild-Organised by Eugénie Decré, co-pilot of Jérome Pélichet, the Trophy Day is the culmination of a series of events she organises throughout the year in Europe and Africa for Wildcat offroad competition cars only.

In addition to the prize giving, where the coveted Wildcat Trophy was presented to Patrick Syrejol, 2008 overall series winner, there was also the opportunity for the stars and cars to show off their pace.

Pierre Lartigue, four times Dakar winner, enthusiastically tested the new 4.0 litre V8 Jaguar-engined Wildcat and was impressed by its stability and control: “I have to say that the suspension upgrades on this new Wildcat take it into an extra dimension – it’s like driving on rails. And with the greater torque from the new engine, for me, it’s the ideal privateer car.”

Part of the reason for this stability is put down to the Qt-designed mountings for the coil over shock absorbers which were developed in conjunction with Donerre. Qt Services now manufacture the Wildcat from their base in Cornwall, UK and its managing director, Dave Marsh travelled to Narbonne, at the invitation of Eugénie Decré.

“It was great to be present at this first Trophy Day,” said Dave after the weekend, ”but the thing that blew me away was the pull that the trophy has. Apart from top raid names like Jean-Louis Schlesser, Patrick Syrejol and Hubert Auriol, there was huge support from teams like Cummins France and Team Pélichet. A superb turnout really.”

For Wildcat campaigners in the Trophy, it was a great opportunity to see and discuss some of the recent Wildcat developments – such as the new Sadev six-speed sequential gearbox, developed in conjunction with Qt and also Thierry Charbonnier’s new diesel Wildcat. These were also thoroughly tested over the weekend.

The Wildcat Trophy – formerly the Bowler Trophy – now moves into its fifth year and the major event organisers present, who integrate Trophy events within their own, were pleased to see that, despite a tight economic situation, the level of interest in this series is far from waning.