As one of the toughest vehicles in the world, the Toyota Hilux was the obvious choice for the Dakar Rally – the world’s most gruelling motor race.
The 5,500-mile, 13-day event across some of South America’s toughest terrain is a spectacle any year, but with the impressive race taking place across the Río Grande delta and the Andes mountain range, it was arguably one of the trickiest Dakars ever. Using the modified Hilux, over 20 crews, including the Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa and Overdrive Racing teams, took on the rally, with three pairings finishing inside the top ten.
First crew home were Nani Roma and Alex Bravo in the Overdrive Racing Hilux, who finished an impressive fourth place, one hour, 16 minutes behind the eventual winner Stéphane Peterhansel. Teammates Conrad Rautenbach and Rob Howie also finished inside the top 10 in ninth, almost three and a half hours down on their fellow Overdrive crew.
Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz, an experienced pairing of 13 Dakar, overcame several setbacks to finish in fifth, one hour, 49 minutes down on the winner.
It wasn’t all good news for Toyota however, as on stage 3 Nasser Al-Attiyah and Matthieu Baumel – who were in second place at the time – had to retire from the race as a wheel was ripped from the car and caused severe suspension damage.
Despite the tough race conditions, Andrew Kirby, CEO and president of Toyota South Africa Motors said:
“In the end this is the ultimate challenge, because it is undoubtedly the toughest motor race in the world. We may not have achieved what we set out to do this year, but we can certainly be proud of our performance. We were first in class T1 4×4, proving once more just how tough our Toyota Hilux is in these extreme conditions.”