Panda Raid 2018:  Unstoppable Fiat Panda conquers the desert

Panda Raid 2018: Unstoppable Fiat Panda conquers the desert

15.03.2018: ē 3,000 kilometres, seven stages and 400 teams from all over the world: just some of the record-breaking figures of the tenth edition

•    3,000 kilometres, seven stages and 400 teams from all over the world: just some of the record-breaking figures of the tenth edition of the Panda Raid, a competition open only to classic Panda cars.



•    From Madrid to Lake Mohammed V, tackling rough tracks and sandy expanses, desert scenes and landscapes with endless horizons and finishing in the legendary Marrakesh.


•    An amazing journey, in an automotive icon born in 1980, with a toughness and handling that still delight today.


•    Together with previous Panda cars, there was a new Fiat Panda Cross 4x4: a symbolic handshake between the unstoppable desert explorer and the undisputed queen of Europe's metropolises.


•    The natural heir to the mythical Panda 4x4, launched 35 years ago, today's Panda Cross 4x4 has all the characteristics of high-end SUVs, all accommodated in a mere 3,7 meters.




Last Sunday saw the end of the Panda Raid 2018, the exciting annual competition open only to Fiat Panda models built prior to 2003. Featuring both 4x2 and 4x4 versions, the event left Madrid on 3 March, reaching Marrakesh on 10 March after having taken on the Moroccan desert. The route covered a total of 3,000 kilometres, taking in sun-baked villages and sandy trails and crossing harsh terrains which would have been a tough challenge even for larger SUVs.



Now an established event on the Rally Raid calendar - which also includes the iconic Dakar Rally -  this was the 10th edition of the Panda Raid and attracted a record entry of 400 historic Panda cars from all four corners of the Earth: from Argentina to Cambodia and from Pennsylvania to Italy.



Starting in Madrid, the colourful caravan first headed for the coast, to the port of Motril, from where, after a short ferry crossing, it travelled to Lake Mohammed V (4 March). From here, the expedition faced sandy tracks and trails, desert areas and landscapes with an endless horizon, with stops in Bni Tadjide (5 March), Errachidia (6 March), Merzouga (8 March) and Tansikht (9 March). The final stage was on 10 March, finishing in Marrakesh.



An amazing journey - which has provided magical combinations of adventure, nature and pristine landscapes for 10 years - driving an automotive icon, with a total of over 7.5 million cars built from 1980 to current, which still delights even today with its toughness and handling. Alongside the 400 classic Panda cars in the race was a new Fiat Panda Cross 4x4, which completed the entire course.



A symbolic handshake between past and present of the model that was one of the best seller vehicles in its segment in Europe  for 15 years. In other words, the undisputed queen of Europe's cities proved once again that it is equally at home amongst the desert dunes.



The secret to the Pandas success is its unique combination of a traction system of a genuine off-road vehicle, the performance and contents of an SUV, but with the external dimensions, efficiency and agility of a city car. The Panda Cross 4x4 is a "crossover"because it can overcome any obstacle - thanks to the 4WD and Electronic Differential Lock - which it was first to market with.



Moreover, the amazing success of "Panda Raid 2018" is just another of many records. As well as being the first city-car with 4WD (1983), the Panda was also the first car in its segment to receive the coveted "Car of the Year" title (2004), and in the same year, it was also the first city-car to climb to an altitude of 5,200 metres, at the Everest base camp.



The long series of records continued in 2006 when Fiat Panda became the first natural gas fuelled city car to be produced on a volume scale. And today it is the only car in its segment to offer four engine versions (petrol, diesel, petrol/natural gas and petrol/LPG), three configurations (Urban look, City Cross and 4x4), two traction systems (front and all-wheel) and two transmissions (manual and Dualogic robotised).




Lesley Sutton - photos quickpic.co.za

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/panda-raid-2018-fiat-desert-conquers---173675.html

15.03.2018 / MaP

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