Though much maligned after its ill-fated foray into South Africa a decade and a half ago Dacia (as part of the Renault/Nissan alliance) offers quite a neat portfolio of products in the contemporary European market.In fact the company’s Duster crossover is heralded as being an excellent buy; it even has some competition heritage after competing in the Andros Trophy French snow racing championship.At ease racing in the Alps, the natural progression for Dacia’s competition team is to enter the world’s most famous (and daring) hill-climb: the sprint up Pikes Peak, held in Colorado each June. For the 2011 event Dacia has confirmed it will enter a Duster “No Limit”, the result of collaboration between Renaultsport and a number of independent race-preparation consultants. Driving the Duster will be current Andros Trophy champion Jean-Phillipe Dayraut. Mr. Min apparently declined...RACE TO THE CLOUDSPikes Peak is one of the world’s last great motorsport events, undiluted by organisers' politics and competitors' bickering; it simply is just man and machine against one rather challenging mountain. Contestants race their way from a starting altitude of 2860m to a finish at 4300m, covering 20km of combination asphalt/gravel surface on the ascent. The drop-offs are spectacular and the holy grail is to do it in less than 10 minutes, something no man and machine has yet managed (the current record is 10min1.42 held by Japan’s Tajima ‘Monster’ Nobuhiro in a Suzuki).Despite the 2011 event being its first, Dacia is not content with simply making up the numbers. Its “No Limit” car has been configured with all manner of outlandish Renault/Nissan alliance parts, including a heavily modified version of the GT-R’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 engine...CRUCIAL ELEMENTConfigured to be mid-engined (for optimal weight distribution), the Duster “No Limit” has a space-frame chassis and some of the most elaborate airflow management surfacing you’ll see outside of a fighter-jet hanger. A crucial element engineers are required to combat at Pikes Peak is the altitude factor and resultant ambient air pressure issues and subsequent power loss. Cars climbing so high (and so quickly) can become alarmingly asthmatic during a single timed run. To this end, Nissan’s provided Dacia with a 625kW version of its GT-R’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 (usually worth 384kW in road-going trim), which should provide Dayraut with sufficient urge to drift the Romanian crossover up Colorado’s most famous mountain pass with aplomb and at speeds approaching 200km/h.