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SA Toyota team on Dakar desert warm-up

2014-10-02 12:36

PODIUM IN 2013: Toyota SA Dakar drivers Giniel de Villiers (right) and Dirk von Zitzewitz will drive one of two local Hiluxes in the 2015 Dakar Rally. This was when they finished second in 2013. Image: Toyota / Waldo van der Waal

MARRAKECH, Morocco - South Africa's Dakar star and general motorsport legend Giniel de Villiers will race in the 2014 Rally of Morocco that starts on Saturday (Oct 4) s a warm-up for the 2015 Dakar Rally.

The Rally of Morocco has six stages and a race distance of 1442km. From the start in the town of Erfoud the route heads north and west to Cheggaga via Damia and Merzane to the finish in the ancient capital city, Marrakech.


De Villiers and long-time navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz will challenge nearly 160 competitors - among them big names such as Nasser al-Attiyah and Orlando Terranova (Mini All4Racing), Lucio Alvarez (Toyota Hilux) and 2014 Dakar winner Nani Roma (Mini All4Racing).

The Toyota Imperial SA Dakar Team wants go gain valuable seat-time and test new components for the Toyota Hilux before the Dakar. De Villiers said: "Conditions in Morocco are similar to large parts of the Dakar and since this is also quite a long race it's an ideal opportunity to test components and settings..  and to become re-acquainted with the Hilux."

They will be supported on the event by Team Overdrive, which supplies race logistics and support to a large number of Toyota Hilux crews. A small team from South Africa will be in Morocco to look after Giniel and Dirk


Team boss Glyn Hall told Wheels24: "We're excited to be competing internationally again. Giniel and Dirk can only benefit from the additional seat time and in terms of testing Morocco will be invaluable. That said, we are already assembling the 2015 Dakar Toyota Hilux vehicles in our workshop.

"Testing for the Dakar has been ongoing through 2014 with a programme covering more than 4000km. Despite this significant amount of testing, the Rally of Morocco remains a great event to confirm some durability items, as well as certain performance aspects of the car.

"We will have about 15 items to test during the race, among them gear ratios, cooling, brakes and suspension." The Hilux chosen for Morocco has seen action in the hands of Leeroy Poulter and navigator Rob Howie on the 2014 SA Cross-Country championship in which the Hilux made the podium four times.Fans can follow the action via Toyota's social media and Facebook.

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