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2011-12-02 11:40

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: The local Dakar technical team is hard at work on the competing Toyota Hiluxes.

There’s a month to go until the 2012 Dakar Rally kicks off, but the local South African team from Toyota has more pressing matters.

The main event remains the epic race across 9000km through Argentina, Chile and Peru, from January 1 to 15, 2012 but, until then, a December 9 deadline is more urgent. That is the day when the team’s two Hilux bakkies and four tons of equipment will be prepared for their flight to Buenos Aires on December 15. 


The two V8-engined bakkies used in the Dakar will not be new to competition. They wrapped the SA off-road championships on November 12 before being stripped down and rebuilt to Dakar specification. After a brief shake-down, the Toyota’s will be partly disassembled again for transporting to Argentina.

Team principal Glyn Hall said of the project: “It’s been a massive, seven-days-a-week effort with precious little time to sleep. Once the vehicles are safely tucked away in the cargo hold of the SAA Airbus, we’ll be able to think about enjoying Christmas with our families before we fly out to Buenos Aires on December 26.

Giniel de Villiers and Glyn Hall

INPUT: Lead driver Giniel de Villiers and team principal Glyn Hall go over some details.

“To enter and compete in the Dakar Rally is a major – and expensive – undertaking and our all-South African participation would not have been possible without the generous assistance of our sponsors, IMPERIAL Toyota, Duxbury Netgear and the Innovation Group, together with the support of a number of specialist suppliers and technical partners,” Hall added.

Once in Argentina, the Hiluxes will be reassembled at the local Toyota plant in Zarate, north of Buenos Aires, before tests and a shake down at its 4x4 test track on December 28.

The vehicles will then be transported 450km to the resort city of Mar del Plata, where they will be scrutineered on December 31. The race proper starts on January 1, 2012 where the locally-built Hilux bakkies will form part of the 171-km car field. Other competitors include 185 motorcycles, 76 trucks and 33 quads.

The Toyota Hiluxes will be driven by 2009 Dakar Rally winner and former South African off-road champion Giniel de Villiers and four times SA off-road champion Duncan Vos.  De Villiers’ co-driver will be German Dirk von Zitzewitz, while Vos will be accompanied by regular national championship team-mate Rob Howie.

Wheels24 was at Toyota SA's farewell ceremony to its Dakar Rally team on December 1.

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