Saturday, April 20, 2024

Nuno Matos creates Volkswagen Amarok PROTO for T3 racing

Despite leading the Portuguese Cross-Country Championship (CPTT) standings in the T8 class, Nuno Matos will switch to the T3 category for the rest of the season in a very unique vehicle. Although T3 is for Light Prototype side-by-side vehicles, he intends to enter the division with a heavily modified Volkswagen Amarok dubbed the Volkswagen Amarok PROTO.

The Amarok is a pickup truck whose rally raid experience is mainly in the T1 and T2 categories for prototype cars and production vehicles, respectively. It first appeared at the Dakar Rally in 2010 to drive Volkwagen Motorsport’s support crews before it even arrived in showrooms. In 2018, Hennie de Klerk was the highest finishing rookie at the Dakar Rally in an Amarok, which he continued to race in domestic events in his native South Africa before switching to a Toyota Hilux for 2023. Miguel Casaca currently pilots an Amarok in the CPTT’s T1 class.

Matos’ Amarok PROTO, fully developed in Portugal and has a factory engine from Volkswagen, will make its début at the Baja TT Sharish Gin on 22–24 September. The final two races, the Baja TT Oeste and Baja Portalgre 500, are respectively scheduled for 6–8 October and 27/28 October.

Prior to switching to T3, Matos had been atop the T8 standings in an Opel Mokka Proto. He won the Baja TT Norte de Portugal in May to take the points lead, which he will now surrender as he commits to his new class. Ricardo Claro will remain his co-driver.

“Naturally, it is with great regret that we leave behind the work we did to be at the front of the T8 category, but in truth this was a very interesting opportunity for us thinking about the future, and we had to grab it tooth and nail,” Matos commented. “The fight in the T8 category was getting to be very interesting and that’s why we know the title will be in good hands.

“It is a huge pride for us to present this vehicle, a Volkswagen Amarok PROTO, which is 100 percent aligned with our off-road journey and which we believe will be competitive. This vehicle has very particular characteristics that the public will soon get to know, with the entire team working hard to be present, in the fifth round of the Portuguese Off-Road Championship, the Baja TT Sharish Reguengos. We are very excited about the challenge and very grateful to all our partners who, once again, trusted us and supported this project.”

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