Toyota crews prepare for Dakar
MOTORSPORT: Rally winners take advantage of Namib’s sand dunes
WALVIS BAY — Toyota Motorsport South Africa have spend the past week preparing for the Dakar, racing more than 2 000 kilometres in the Namib Desert near Walvis Bay.
The 2009 Dakar winners Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz, third in 2012 and second in 2013, took advantage of the combination of sand dunes and gravel tracks closely resembling the geography they will experience in the Dakar Rally.
They were accompanied by Imperial Toyota Hilux team-mates, Dakar rookie Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie, who navigated Duncan Vos to 10th place in 2012.
It will be the third time the Toyota Imperial Dakar Team tackles the world’s longest and toughest motor race, following a third place in 2012 and a second place in 2013.
“Since our success in the 2013 Dakar Rally in January, we have continued our development of the Toyota Hilux in the Donaldson South African Cross Country Championship, which is one of the toughest and most respected national championships in the world,” said team principal Glyn Hall.
He said Namibia’s sand dunes and the semidesert environment was similar to the South American coastal areas, specifically in Chile’s Atacama Desert, and allowed Toyota to get through a very full programme of tasks.
Next, the team needs to complete the two new Dakar bakkies and apply what they have learnt this past week in Namibia.
The team returned to home base at Barbecue Downs near Kyalami on Sunday to complete preparations for the next round of the South African cross-country championship, the all-new Vryburg 400 in North West Province next weekend. — Supplied.
Toyota Motorsport South Africa preparing for the 2014 Dakar in the Namib Desert near Walvis Bay, where the crews raced more than 2 000 kilometres during the past week.
Dirk van Zitzewitz, co-pilot to driver Giniel de Villers.