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Round two of the Australian Off-Road Championship – the Finke Desert Race – has been run and won again, with the Isuzu Motorsports’ D-MAX finishing the punishing event third in the EXTREME 4WD class – but more importantly, it was once again the first diesel-powered machine across the line.

Running against larger capacity and thirstier petrol driven competitors, the diesel D-MAX made light work of the 38th running of Australia's toughest desert race – making up 17 places across the two-day 458km race.

“This race gets harder on the body and more competitive every year,” says D-MAX pilot, Bruce Garland.

“When I first raced here 15 years ago, the track was as smooth as a bowling green – now there's culverts, washouts and 'whoopees' every kilometre.”

Based on the award winning one-tonne ute of the same name, the Isuzu Motorsports’ prepared D-MAX runs most of the standard parts that your normal road-going D-MAX has, with the main difference being the tune of the engine.

“The engine in our D-MAX isn't much different to that of the one you'd find on the showroom floor ... and the same can be said for the diff, steering assembly and most of the other parts,” Garland explains.

“Except yours comes with a five-year warranty ... ours is tuned up and has no warranty!” he jokes.

“In all seriousness though, so good is the fuel economy with this diesel, if the race was run in one single leg we'd win it … we can carry less fuel than the others which obviously means we’re hauling less weight.

“Everyone else running these petrol race engines would have to stop and refuel every few hundred kays!” Garland says.

The Isuzu Motorsports team will now begin preparations for the Australasian Safari, which is held in the deserts of Western Australia in September.
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