2015 DAKAR CHALLENGE: Privateers Johan Van Staden and Mike Lawrenson were 31st in the 2015 Dakar Rally. The 2015 challenge will be linked with the RFS Endurance Race in Harrismith. Image: Terence Marsh
Organisers of the Dakar Rally have linked the 2015 Dakar challenge with the opening round of the South African Off-Road championship.
The Dakar Challenge has provided a major boost for the RFS Endurance Race which will kick-starts a revamped Cross-Country championship in Harrismith, KZN, over March 27/28.
The Dakar Challenge offers the winners a free entry into the 2016 Dakar Rally in South America and in the past has run in conjunction with the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana.
MORE TIME TO PREPARE
South African National Off-Road Association CEO Richard Schilling said: “Rescheduling the Dakar Challenge to early in the season will give the winners more time to find sponsors to be able to compete in South America. The challenge is further proof of South Africa’s expanding influence on the Dakar Rally and provides us with another opportunity to further enhance South Africa’s worldwide reputation.”
South African performed exceptionally in the 2015 Dakar Rally; Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (Toyota Hilux) were once again on the podium, Leeroy Poulter/Rob Howie (Hilux) were 16th, Johan van Staden/Mike Lawrenson (Nissan Navara) were 31st and Jurgen and Daniel Schroder (Nissan Navara) were 38th.
SA-BUILT DAKAR CONTENDERS
The 2015 race saw a record number of SA-built or SA-designed vehicles part in the South American rally: 18 Toyota Hilux bakkies, three Nissan Navaras, two Renault Dusters and aFord Ranger.
Schilling said: “We are proud of the South African performances on the 2015 Dakar but some teams missed the end of the domestic season because they were preparing for South America.
“A later start and earlier finish to the local series will ease the pressure on teams wanting to compete in the 2016 Dakar.”
FAMILY AFFAIR: Privateers Jurgen and Daniel Schroder finished 38th in
the 2015 Dakar Rally. Image: Terence Marsh