Not so great news - The cancelled Dacia S2000 rally car
In 2005 the FIA announced the creation of a new rally class, Super 2000 or S2000. A class focused on reducing the cost of developing and running a rally car. Privateers and manufacturers could then enter the world of rallying without having to spend a fortune on developing a state of the art WRC spec car.
Every car would have to run a "control" gearbox provided by Sadev and be powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0L engine. 4 wheel drive was surprisingly enough not mandatory. The concept immediately caught on as 8 manufacturers in total were interested in developing a Super 2000 car. The most unusual one was Dacia.
The Super 2000 car wouldn't have been the first rally car from Dacia. In the 90's they dominated the Romanian rally scene with the Group H SupeRNova. A 300+ horsepower rocket that fell outside the Group A regulations. This meant it was way faster than the established order like the Lancia Delta Integrale and Ford Escort Cosworth.
However, it would be the first S2000 car ever made and the first Dacia rally car built after Renault acquired the brand in September 1999. This meant Dacia now had a valuable ally in Renault's motorsport division and the countless French motorsport companies it had close ties with.
The car of choice would be the Dacia Logan. Launched in Romania in June 2004 with prices starting as low as €5,900 it was an instant hit. So much so that it convinced Renault to try and sell the car in Western Europe as well. So the announcement of the S2000 class came at the perfect time.
Instead of starting from scratch, the Logan was fitted with as much parts as possible from the Front wheel drive Super 1600 Renault Clio that ran in the Junior World Rally Championship. Just like when the Clio was initially developed, one of France's biggest motorsport companies Oreca was back to help turn the Logan into something competitive.
The 2.0L 4 Cylinder engine produced 270 horsepower powering all 4 wheels through the aforementioned Sadev 6 speed sequential transmission. The car was thoroughly put through its paces at a test session in the French mountains on tight and twisty roads in the hands of Simon Jean-Joseph. A man with experience behind of the wheel of many WRC cars and the original Clio S1600.
Curiously, when it went out for its first couple of runs all the Dacia decals were camouflaged with ducttape. For some reason nobody was to know it was a Dacia despite the road car already being out for a year. At some point in the day the tape was removed and the secrecy ended.
Sadly, so did the project. For reasons still unknown to this day, Dacia and Renault pulled the plug on the Super 2000 rally car. Although I do have a couple theories
One can argue it just wasn't worth it. The original Dacia Logan was supposed to be a car in its purest form, simple transportation for a small prize. People who'd want to buy such a car obviously aren't gonna be interested in motorsport at all. And despite Super 2000 being aimed at reducing cost, the final car would have cost you around €150.000 if you wanted to buy one and go rallying yourself. It was the complete opposite of what a Dacia was supposed to be.
Renault could have also not been interested in running the car for multiple seasons for the same reason Skoda today doesn't want to compete in WRC and prefers to stay in WRC2. The Clio 1600 was pretty capable of its own and didn't need a bigger brother racing in a faster, and more expensive class.
What was supposed to be the first car of a new era of rallying, faded away into obscurity. Where the car is now is unknown. That is, if it even still exists. All we have left are a couple dozen pictures and one single video.