Motorsport winner: 1983 Paris–Dakar Rally
In 1982, the G-model created a stir at the fourth Paris–Algiers–D akar Rally: Belgian racing driver Jackie Ickx set off with his co-driver Claude Brasseur in a Mercedes-Benz 280 GE rally vehicle. On the 10,000-kilometre route leading through France, Algeria, Mali, and Senegal (5963 kilometres were timed stages), the team won seven stages and led the field of vehicles.
The G models made an excellent impression at the predecessor of today’s Dakar Rally in 1982 in general with their cumulative showing: they were robust and fast enough to win the overall victory crown. But this opportunity was then squandered as the result of a navigation error, and the team Ickx/Brasseur crossed the finish line in fifth place of the standings for automobiles.
The following year, Ickx and Brasseur were then triumphant in their 280 GE: in the rally, which took place from 1 to 20 January 1983, the team beat a field of 385 participants in all, which included 253 passenger cars and trucks.
Ickx set an extremely fast pace especially in the duel with René Metge (Dakar winner of 1984) driving a Range Rover: for the first time in the history of the Dakar Rally, a car finished a stage faster than a motorcycle. The 280 GE was aerodynamically optimised with detachable parts, weighed less than the production G-model thanks to the use of aluminium components, and the engine output was increased by 47 kW (64 hp) to 162 kW (220 hp). In addition, the front axle was modified, the rally vehicle was fitted with stronger springs and special shock absorbers, and finally sand tyres from Michelin were mounted.
The Paris–Algiers–Dakar Rally in 1983 covered some 12,000 kilometres through France, Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali and Mauritania to Senegal. This fifth edition of the “Dakar”, which for the first time crossed the infamous Ténéré Desert, ended with a quasi one-two victory for Mercedes-Benz: because, while Ickx and Brasseur led the standings of the passenger cars, Georges Groine, Thierry de Saulieu and Bernard Malfériol driving a Mercedes-Benz 1936 AK all-wheel-drive truck (261 kW/355 hp) crossed the finish line as the best truck (19th place in the overall standings for cars/trucks).
The victory of the G-model in the 1983 Paris–Algiers–Dakar Rally was again a brilliant motorsport success a good two years after the Stuttgart-based brand had ended its successful rally activities.