Dacia Duster to tackle Pikes Peak with 850-hp Nissan GT-R engine?

Dacia Duster Andros Trophy – Click above for high-res image gallery

We know that looks like snow in the picture above, but imagine all that white stuff as the winding circuit that ascends Pikes Peak instead. The legendary (and brutal) Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has been dominated by the likes of Suzuki's Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima in years past, and while Rhys Millen has been eager to win back his daddy's title, reports indicate that both Tajima and Millen could have a new challenger to deal with this year.

The challenge could come from the Andros Trophy – the French ice racing series that attracts big names from F1 like Alain Prost and Jacques Villeneuve. As much about the drivers as it is about the cars, the Andros Trophy series has been dominated by two names over the past several years: the aforementioned quadruple F1 champion Prost, and Jean-Philippe Dayraut. The former won the trophy in 2007 and 2008, the latter in 2009 and 2010, and the both of them are currently tangling for the 2011 title.

Prost switched from the Toyota Auris in which he won the trophy twice to the specially-prepared Dacia Duster pictured above. Dayraut left his Skoda Fabia to Villeneuve in favor of the BMW 1 Series. If reports prove accurate, however, it could be Dayraut taking the Dacia to Pikes Peak. French reports say Dayraut's people approached Tork Engineering (the firm that set up Prost's Duster) to make a Pike's Peak challenger using the engine from the Nissan GT-R (Dacia is part of the Renault-Nissan alliance) with a projected 850 horsepower and a curb weight under 2,000 lbs.

With those kinds of stats – and that kind of driver – the Dacia hillclimber is shaping up to be a a monster. And Monster Tajima had better take notice.

[Source: Le Blog Auto]

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