Toyota not packing light for Dakar
PACKING UP AND SHIPPING OUT: Glyn Hall, Giniel de Villiers, Dirk von Zitzewitz and technician Wicus Ceronio prepare some equipment for the long journey to Lima.
Toyota Motorsport is engaged in a race of a different kind as the new South African Off-Road champion grapples with the Herculean task of packing six tons of parts and equipment for the January 2013 Dakar Rally in South America.
It’s a race against time and the deadline is just days away. On December 14 both Toyota Imperial South Africa Team’s Toyota Hilux 4x4, partially dissembled and loaded on SAA Cargo pallets, and all the parts and equipment needed for 15 days of Dakar, packed in 130 cases and stacked in three SAA Cargo aluminum containers, must be delivered to SAA at OR Tambo airport for the long flight to Lima in Peru.
Toyota Motorsport’s workshops in Barbecue Downs, just down the hill from the Kyalami race circuit, are a hive of activity and it’s a case of all hands on deck. "It’s a bit crazy around here right now,” admitted team principal Glyn Hall in something of an understatement, surrounded by wrapped large components and rows of boxes filled with smaller bits.
EVERYTHING BUT KITCHEN SINK
“We have to take absolutely everything we need to look after the two race vehicles. That means spares for virtually every component of each of the two Imperial Toyota Hiluxes. There are 4000 items, including a complete spare engine, spare gearboxes, front and rear diffs, more than two-dozen driveshafts, suspension uprights and steering assemblies, steering racks, four dozen shock-absorbers and spring assemblies, brake kits, wiring harnesses, lights assemblies, 16 top wishbones and 28 lower wishbones.
When the 22-strong team (drivers, co-drivers, engineer, physiotherapist, technicians and team manager) arrive in Lima at the end of December the technicians will unpack all this equipment and repack it into two support trucks that travel from bivouac to bivouac as well as a race truck that follows the competing cars with essential spares.
The two race Hiluxes will be re-assembled in readiness for a pre-race shakedown and final test 50km outside Lima in the first week of January. Then there will be documentation and scrutineering in Lima before the trucks take their turn at the start line in Lima on January 5.
Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz will be in vehicle #301 and Duncan Vos and Rob Howie in vehicle #312.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Hall added: “We also have a logistics truck that carries what we need to set up our pits and sleeping quarters at the bivouac – ‘easy-ups’, ground sheets, tents, sleeping bags and consumables. During the race the rest of us travel a more direct route between bivouacs than the competitors in a fleet of Toyota Hilux bakkies, Fortuners and Land Cruisers, as well as a 10-seater minibus.
“Packing and unpacking for the Dakar and moving everything from South Africa to Peru, Argentina and Chile, before returning to South Africa, is a huge operation which has to be carried out with military precision.
"There’s a lot of paperwork, including customs clearance leaving and returning to South Africa and for our passage through the three countries the rally visits - Peru, Argentina and Chile.”
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