Porsche 917

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Held an­nu­ally in the heart of the dry and sandy Kala­hari Bushveld, the Toy­ota 1000 Desert Race is now the premier event on the South­ern African rac­ing scene, at­tract­ing the very best in lo­cal and over­seas par­tic­i­pants. Ar­riv­ing with their race-pre­pared bakkies, quad bikes, off-road bikes, and quaintly-styled spe­cial ve­hi­cles, these rac­ers gather at the Jwa­neng Sports Club in the cen­tre of this dusty but hospitable lit­tle town.

Hosted by To­tal South Africa, and with a stun­ning Hyundai Tucson 1.6 Turbo Sport as our wheels for the week­end, the 500 km from Joburg to Jwa­neng was dealt with speed­ily and eco­nom­i­cally with the Tucson cruis­ing along at a Garminindi­cated 126 km/h – with three adults and their lug­gage on board. The Hyundai proved it­self as a supremely com­fort­able ve­hi­cle with all the bells and whis­tles one would come to ex­pect from a lux­ury mid-sized SUV with an ask­ing price of some R500,000.

The race it­self – a high-speed dusty dash through arid ter­rain and thorn scrub – was won finely by South Africa’s only Dakar Cham­pion, Giniel de Vil­liers, who also won the event in 2009 with co­driver Den­nis Mur­phy, end­ing the two-day 1,000 kilo­me­tre event a mere six sec­onds ahead of South African rally cham­pion, Leeroy Poul­ter and Rob Howie. Both were in Dakar-spec­i­fi­ca­tion Toy­ota Hilux ve­hi­cles, de­signed and pre­pared by Glyn Hall, while Jo­han and Werner Horn in their Malalane Toy­ota Hilux en­sured a full and de­cid­edly im­pres­sive all-Toy­ota podium. Fourth place over­all went to Lance Wool­ridge/Ward Huxtable in their Ford Ranger, while Jo­han van Staden/Mike Lawren­son sur­prised one and all by bring­ing their In­finiti-en­gined Re­nault Duster V8 home in fifth over­all. Visit motorsport.toy­ for more.

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