Events/CompetitionsPress Release

Darren Skilton Pushed to the Finish Line at Dakar Rally

  • After battling an array of issues, Skilton’s team literally pushed him onto the podium to claim his second-place finish.
  • Skilton’s second-place finish in OP1 in limbo while the world waits for a ruling on a technical infraction by the first-place finisher.

Fort Mill, SC – January 24, 2012. The historic Dakar Rally is not for the faint of heart and veteran driver Darren Skilton, along with navigator Skyler Gambrell, pushed the limits in what some are calling the most difficult course since the race moved to South America in 2009.  The General Tire-sponsored team endured more than 5,590 miles of silt beds, mile high dunes, treacherous mountains, inclement weather and mental exhaustion on their way to a second-place finish.  Just one of 72 teams to finish the race that 171 teams started. This marks the second year running that Skilton finished the grueling pan-American adventure.

“Congratulations to Darren and the entire Baja Automotive team on their second-place finish,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing, General Tire.  “Darren and the team had every reason to quit given the demands and stresses placed upon them throughout the race but they never gave up.  Their toughness and resolve to finish the race is exactly what the General Tire brand is about and we’re pleased that our tires helped get them across the finish line for the second year running.”

During the first half of the Dakar Rally Skilton’s buggy was plagued by fuel issues, limiting the potential of the Revolution VI buggy.  Master mechanic Barrie Thompson finally resolved the issue during the rest day in Copiapo, Chile and Skilton was able to post a 24th-place finish in Stage 7 from Copiapo to Antofagasta and was trudging his way forward in the overall rankings.  The duo of Skilton and Gambrell faced their share of adversity across the harsh Atacama Desert but the only thing stronger than the team’s General Grabber tires was their will to finish the race.

Skilton made up time in Stage 13 but a gearbox issue took it’s tole on the Revolution VI buggy in the final stage.  While the buggy quit, the man-power behind the wheel did not. Fellow competitor Geoffrey Olhom assisted Skilton to the finish line and the Baja Automotive team physically pushed the car up the podium for an emotional celebration that drew deafening applause from the crowd gathered in Lima, Peru at the finish.

Skilton drove to a well-deserved second-place finish in the Open Production 1 (OP1) class.  However, his final position is in limbo at this time while the first-place finisher is currently under review for a technical infraction.  Overall, an extraordinary effort by Skilton and the Baja Automotive team to finish the world’s most punishing race.

About General Tire

For more than 90 years General Tire has offered a complete quality line of ultra-high performance, passenger, light truck, off-road and commercial tires to meet all your needs. General Tire is a proud supporter of Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing, Chili Bowl, Pro-Pulling, Late- Model Dirt Series, Drag Boat Series, Boost Mobile Tour, Spec Tire of Trophylite and Pro Truck. Team GT supports off-road and short course teams including BJ Baldwin, Carl Renezeder, Rick D. Johnson, Jerry Zaiden/Jason Campbell, Jason/Rich Voss, Scott Steinberger, Ed “Clyde” Stout, Marc Burnett, Kent Kroeker, Mikey Childress, Jim Riley, Carey Hart, Josh Merrell, Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg, Jason Ellis, Robby Woods, Casey Currie, Ryan Hagy and

Jeff “Ox” Kargola.


General Tire is part of Continental Tire the Americas, LLC. ( CTA, based in Fort Mill, South Carolina, is a company of Germany-based Continental AG. With sales of approximately €20 billion in 2009 Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, Continental contributes enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently has close to 160,000 employees in 45 countries.

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