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Ford F-150 SVT Raptor at the 2011 Dakar Rally - Click above for high-res image gallery

The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is still proving that it can do whatever deed needs done, whenever it needs doing. Sue Mead and Darren Skilton managed to pilot a largely stock version of the desert-raiding pickup through all 12 stages of this year's Dakar rally. The team survived 16 days of some of the most brutal terrain on the South American continent and covered over 11,800 miles in the process. Their effort was enough to net the Raptor a 40th place finish over all and a first place finish in the OP class.

In fact, from what we hear, Mead and Skilton were the only contestants to even finish in the OP class, even with big names like Robbie Gordon gunning for the win.

That marks the first time that an American crew has ever managed to take a class win in the history of the Dakar Rally. The F-150 SVT Raptor that Mead and Skilton campaigned boasted the same 5.4-liter V8 that it rolled off the production line with, though a larger cooling system was fitted to handle the harsh temperatures of the course. Likewise, the pickup was equipped with a host of other race-capable bits including a new locker system for the differentials, more robust shocks, springs and tires.

Overall, Volkswagen took the top three spots in the 2011 Dakar Rally. BMW filled out the remaining spots in the top five with its entries. Hit the jump for the press release.

Gallery: Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 2011 Dakar Rally

[Source: Ford]Continue reading Journalist Sue Mead, racer Darren Skilton become first U.S. team to win a class in Dakar Rally

Journalist Sue Mead, racer Darren Skilton become first U.S. team to win a class in Dakar Rally originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 17 Jan 2011 17:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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