^^^ Yeah, that's pretty much what I pictured in my mind from your first description... one of those candy apple custom painted sandrail/toys like you see the Cali flat biller crews out playing with at Glamis or Dumont on any given weekend... type
I noticed that these things have become pretty popular over in Dubai of late also... so I kind of figured that might have been where the inspiration came from.
Looking at the Jeffries Racing website, I see that they have a spec' Class 1 and Class 10 cars that they manufacture as well as TT's... but as you say; the development and prep of a Dakar program is another kettle of fish. I don't doubt that they can build an a-arm "buggy" with a body on it that can run fast in offroad terrain or even a TT capable of running with the SCORE/BITD boys in the US races...
... but DAKAR requires a whole different timeframe and development program... and a significantly different "approach" (something it took RGM four or five years to figure out). So yeah, I'd lean towards thinking the learning curve is stacked against this project, given the relative short lead up and January will be (literally) the car and teams competition debut in Dakar/Rally terms.
So, Strong Bad
you're predicting that the Qatar Qid is "parked" by day 3 or 4... eh?