The decidedly vanilla crossover we know as the Buick Encore is sold as the Opel Mokka (yes; “mocha” in English) in other markets, and it’s getting ready to do the Dakar Rally this coming January. But first it’s gotta get through a quick jousting tournament and storm a castle.
That get you fired up? Alright; check out the full-length (five-minute) version of “Lóerők harca,” which translates to “Horse Battle Force,” which I think is meant to translate to “Horsepower Battle,” in all its epic glory:
Drivers Balázs Szalay and László Bunkoczi from the Hungarian Opel Team will be driving the this rig in the race; which is (obviously) a dedicated racing car with little more than the vague shape and front badge from the road car carried over.
“What I liked the most? The enthusiasm of the knights!” said Bunkoczi, as loosely translated from Hungarian.
Szalay has been racing Dakar since 1995; setting up his own team called “Szalay Dakar Express” in 1995. He ran his first rig, a Chevrolet Blazer preped by Frank Papp’s shop in the US, for his first Dakar Rally in 1996. He only made it six days into the competition, but he’s been running ever since.
Szalay hooked up with Opel in 2003, and his co-driver Bunkoczi for the first time in 2004. With a new vehicle for their tenth anniversary of driving together, they have high hopes for the upcoming rally.
The Mokka Dakar is a 4WD six-speed sequential manual powered by a 6.2 V8 making 340 horsepower and 486 ft-lbs of torque. That conservative tune will be for longevity, which they’re definitely going to need in the South American desert come January.
If the team has half as much fun out on the course as they do in these videos, they’re going to put on a hell of a show.
Here’s a little “behind the scenes” action, which is unfortunately not in English but is visually interesting nonetheless:
And here’s the whole crew lined up like they just drove out of a time machine… 340 HP vs 5.