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SA Dakar team takes on Namib

2011-10-26 08:48
Toyota's South African 2012 Dakar team is heading for the high dunes of the Namib desert to put their Hilux double cabs through their paces.

The team comprises of SA off road champion and winner of the 2009 Dakar Rally Giniel de Villiers and four times National champion Duncan Vos.

De Villiers’ co-driver will be the experienced German Dirk von Zitzewitz, who has ridden alongside the South African in each of the last four Dakars and is a veteran of eight rallys. Vos will be accompanied by his regular National championship co-driver Rob Howie, who is also general manager of Toyota Motorsport.

De Villierswill be competing in his 10th Dakar.

Toyota Motorsport team principal Glyn Hall said: "The Morocco Rally was the first real test of our proudly South African Hilux and we’re delighted with its success in an event very similar to, but shorter than, the Dakar.

“Since competing in the recent Human Auto 400 National championship off road race in Bloemfontein, we’ve been hard at it preparing them for the sand test.  Giniel will go ahead to establish a suitable test route and we’ll get straight into the testing on November 3. We expect to be there for four days,” said Hall.


“The test will not only prepare us for the sand and the high temperatures we expect in Argentina, Chile and Peru, but also provide invaluable training and hands-on experience for Duncan and Rob.  Dirk will join the team for the first time and work closely with Rob to share his wealth of knowledge to prepare him for his first Dakar," he added.

“Our test schedule will include both performance and endurance testing and we’ll be checking 95% of the actual parts we will be using on the Dakar.  We’ll also be doing heat testing, engine mapping in the dunes, suspension testing and evaluating our satellite communications and equipment that we will be using to keep the media back in South Africa informed of our progress throughout the 14 days of the race."

The Dakar Rally will start in the Argentine seaside resort of Mar del Plata and will finish almost 9000km later in the Peruvian capital, Lima, on January 15. 

There will be five racing special stages in Argentina, a crossing of the Andes Mountains, five stages in Chile including a crossing of the Atacama Desert before a rest day on January 8 in the Chilean town of Copiapo.  For the first time in the Dakar's history the riders will compete in four stages and a ceremonial finish in Peru.

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