The automobile had made so much progress that the idea of crossing the desert was no longer the stuff of dreams. Six expeditions were conducted between 1922 and 1925. General Estienne took up the challenge along with his sons
First he looked at caterpillar tracks. But he was disappointed in their performance on rocky ground so he asked Louis Renault to design a vehicle specially for the desert. Renault came up with a 6-wheeler model that had a rear two-axle drive, high clearance and 4 drive wheels at the back. Low-pressure tyres meant good road adherence.
On 25 January 1924, three Renault 6-wheelers competed with three Citroën tracked vehicles on the dirt road between Colomb-Béchar (Algeria) and Bourem (now Mali), covering a total distance of 2,400 kilometers in 7 days.
For further information...
Book : Marie-Christine Rouxel, Renault en Afrique, croisières automobiles et raids aériens, 1901-1919, ETAI 2003
Source : fondation Berliet