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The Paris-Dakar Rally: A new competitor

The instant the Group B prototype was shown at the Frankfurt IAA, someone, somewhere got the idea of racing it on a REAL track. A Porsche legend, Jackie Ickx, offered his idea straight to Zuffenhausen. He wanted to run the Paris-Dakar Rally in a car based on the Group B. With that race being one of the foremost offroad events in the world, Porsche's entrance was almost inevitable. However, even though Porsche was used to winning any race they entered, the professors back at Weissach were a little leery on putting the Group B prototype through such a test. Their car was untested in the offroad category, and the thought of the car loosing to a no-name was almost unbearable. Nevertheless, the 959 prototypes were destined for that race.




Tackling the toughest of rocks...

The 959 had not been in development long enough for a 1984 entrance in the race, but Ickx was allowed to enter 3 911s modifid to 959 specs, the foremost being the 4 wheel drive. He was backed by Rothmans for a sponsor, with Weissach assisting. The 3 caars finished 1st, 6th, and 26th. By 1985, the 959 types were well on their way to finishe status, and was more suited for the race team's needs. This time the cars were legitimate 959s, but modified with more ground clearance, stonger shocks, and things of the like. Three of them were entered, but only headed for a dissappointing outcome. One of the three 959s was destoryed by Mass during an unbelievable tumble down an African sand dune. Ickx crashed into a huge bump which ripped his suspension from under the car, and the 3rd 959 was retired later due to a broken oil pipe.




The Metge/Lemoyne car across the desert

In trying to forget the horrid 1985 attempt, 1986 brought new hope. One 959 was entered in the Rally of the Pharoahs, a race usually marked as a 'testbed' for the Paris-Dakar. Ickx carried the lone 959 there, and was met by a 2nd 959 with a eventful history. It was, in fact, the wrecked 959 of Mass from 1985. It won the Pharoahs.

As the 1986 Paris-Dakar drew near, so did memories of the past attempt. The 3 959s were back, and raced from the starting line in order. This time the 959s held true, and 2 of them finished first and second, despite the harsh desert conditions.