Toy­ota crews pre­pare for Dakar

MOTORSPORT: Rally win­ners take ad­van­tage of Namib’s sand dunes

Weekend Witness - - Arts -

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.

PHOTO: MARC BOW

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.

PHOTO: MARC BOW

Dirk van Zitze­witz, co-pilot to driver Giniel de Villers.

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