- Heading for the world’s toughest off-roader
- New crew for Toyota SA Hilux race team
- Still work to do before start in Paraguay
JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – The Toyota SA Dakar Rally team has set off to South America en route for the Paraguayan capital, Asunscion, and the start of the annual off-road race across the sub-continent.
The rally will start on January 2 but, the Toyota crew says, “there is still a mass of work to do before the race gets under way”.
Team principal Glyn Hall told The Corner before the team flew out: “The two Toyota Gazoo Hiluxes were shipped to our partners at Toyota Argentina, north of Buenos Aires, at the beginning of December.
“However, the cars were partly disassembled for shipping and now need to be fully reassembled and tested.”
The crew also needs to prepare the support vehicles which follow the entire Dakar route with personnel, spare parts, tools and the infrastructure needed to service the race vehicles after each stage.
Hall added: “The Dakar is a truly mammoth undertaking. Our spares inventory includes more than a thousand items, each catalogued according to a system that makes it easy for the logistics manager to find each part on demand.”
When the race vehicles are fully assembled and the logistics taken care of the team will travel from Argentina way north-west to Asunción for the race’s opening ceremony.
The Toyota SA entries will be up against arch-rivals from giant European automakers but has had remarkable successes over the years – saying much for the quality and ability of the SA operation so far from the brand’s HQ in Japan.
Car number 301 will be crewed by Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel and 302 by South African Giniel de Villiers and German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz who together won the event in 2009.
SHORT FIRST STAGE
Al-Attiyah has won the Dakar twice and driven at various times for BMW, VW and Mini, the team he has left to join the South African caravan.
The first stage of the 2017 Dakar will start with a short stage – usually little more than a high-speed parade from Asunción on January 2nd, 2017. Stage 1 will take the teams from Paraguay into the northern regions of Argentina covering a total of 454km.
The first overnight bivouac will be at Resistencia from where the following day the race will continue into Bolivia then back into Argentina over dunes, stony deserts, and tough passes across some of the world’s highest mountains before the now traditional finish in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, on January 14.