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SA privateers to take on Dakar

2013-12-06 09:08


SA ROOKIES HEADED FOR DAKAR: SA privateers Juan Mohr (left) and Thomas Rundle will drive a Toyota Hilux during the 2014 Dakar Rally in the T1 Class. Image: SUPPLIED

South African privateers Thomas Rundle and Juan Mohr will contest the 2014 Dakar Rally in South America with a V8 Toyota Hilux that proved itself in the 2013 race..

It's the truck used by SA’s Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz that earned them second place in the 2013 Dakar Rally.

The all-wheel-drive V8 Hilux, backed by sponsors DMack/Barden, will compete in the T1 class alongside the Toyota entries of De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz and Leeroy Poulter/Rob Howie.


It will carry the number 404 and will start 103rd place when the 9500km event gets under way from Rosario, Argentina on January 5 2014. It will be the pair’s first attempt at the Dakar.

They earned a free entry, worth R400 000, by winning the Dakar Challenge that was part of the Toyota Botswana 1000 Desert Race in June 2013.

Rundle said: “The Dakar Rally is the ultimate challenge for an off road racer and it has always been my dream to compete in it. We'd originally negotiated to take over the Duncan Vos/Rob Howie Hilux from Toyota Motorsport but were fortunate enough to obtain the Villiers/Zitzewitz vehicle, which has independent rear suspension and is a more up-to-date version of the racing Hilux.”

Rundle started his off-road racing career in 2004 in a Toyota Hilux and was delighted to be back in another one.


“I've worked closely with Glyn Hall during my off-road racing career and have received tremendous help and encouragement from him and his team," he added. “While we will be genuine privateers with our own back-up team and support vehicles our Hilux has been prepared for us by Toyota Motorsport and will be shipped to Argentina in mid-December along with the two factory V8s.

“Juan and I have formed an excellent racing relationship over the past few years and we are quietly confident we can do ourselves and our country proud.”

Mohr commented: “To compete in the Dakar alongside Thomas will be the highlight of my racing career.”  

Rundle has spent time in the Namib Desert near Walvis Bay under the tuition of desert driving expert Don Nieuwoudt of West Coast 4x4. The pair accompanied Toyota to the Namibian dunes to gain driving and navigational experience.

Rundle said: “It’s a marathon 14-day drive through some of the toughest terrain in Argentina and Chile and we need to be in top physical and mental condition.”

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