Toy­ota’s Dakar re­sults

NZ4WD - - NEWS -

When your chief op­po­si­tion – Peu­geot - claims a podium clean sweep at this year’s Dakar Rally in South Amer­ica you could be for­given for slip­ping away and lick­ing your wounds. Not Toy­ota.

In­stead, the Ja­panese car­maker has come out ac­cen­tu­at­ing the pos­i­tive with its tough-as V8-pow­ered, South Africa-built Hilux 4x4s utes.

Spa­niards Nani Roma and co-driver Alex Haro Bravo (# 305) fin­ished fourth and won the Im­proved Pro­duc­tion class in a dou­ble cab Hilux with the sim­i­lar ute # 302 of South Africans Giniel de Villiers, and Dirk von Zitze­witz reach­ing the Buenos Aires fin­ish in fifth place.

“We are happy to be in the top ten,” said von Zitze­witz. “We have learnt a lot about the 4WD Hilux and there is room for im­prove­ment.”

Mean­while, in the Stan­dard Pro­duc­tion Diesel class French­men Chris­tian Lavielle and Pierre Garcin took the class lau­rels in # 327 with Akira Muira (Ja­pan) and Lau­rent Lichtleuchter ( France) run­ners-up. Both crews were driv­ing Toy­ota Land Cruis­ers, for a fourth con­sec­u­tive class vic­tory for the diesel Land Cruiser.

Start­ing in Paraguay, this year’s Dakar in­cluded high al­ti­tude stages in Bo­livia over 4000 me­tres above sea level and sev­eral days in the An­des moun­tains.

Some stages were sev­eral hun­dred kilo­me­tres long and re­quired ac­cu­rate nav­i­ga­tion with large num­bers of en­trants get­ting lost af­ter tak­ing wrong turns.

The fact that Peu­geot dom­i­nated one of the tough­est Dakars in re­cent years us­ing hand-built 2WD ( rear) pro­to­types pow­ered by tur­bod­iesel en­gines has rung alarm bells around the world and led the FIA to con­sider a rule change for rally/ raid events which would man­date petrol­fu­elled 4WDs like the Hilux for the main com­pe­ti­tion with 2WD pro­to­types rel­e­gated to sup­port class sta­tus.

Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing did de­velop a 2WD ver­sion of its V8 Hilux with the 2017 Dakar in mind but in the end de­cided to run the 4WDs.

Roma, Haro Bravo and crew cel­e­brate.

Spa­niards Nani Roma and Alex Haro Bravo fin­ished the 2017 Dakar rally fourth in a Toy­ota Hilux.

The Stan­dard Pro­duc­tion diesel class was won by French pair Chris­tian Lavielle and Pierre Garcin in a Toy­ota Land Cruiser.

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