Toyota Imperial SA ‘good to go’ for ‘Dakar’

2013-01-05 00:00

THE countdown to the 34th ‘‘Dakar’’ Rally is over, with the event set to start in Lima, Peru, today and the Toyota Imperial SA team is good to go, says their manager.

It’s been a hectic few days since the team flew in from Johannesburg on December 28. Both Toyota Hilux 4x4s have been reassembled in Toyota Peru’s workshop after their flight across the Atlantic in an SAA Airbus.

Six tons of spares and equipment needed to support the 15-day race have been offloaded and packed into the team’s support trucks and both bakkies have successfully completed two days of testing.

“We’re good to go,” declared team manager Glyn Hall. “The lads have been extremely busy since arriving and everything has gone according to plan. The test went very well and both drivers are happy and ready for Saturday’s opening stage.

“The test area provided us with just the right terrain — big dunes and camel grass and a 10 km gravel road that included a dry river bed. We worked through the tests and found the best settings.

“The two crews practised with the sand ladders and tested different tyre pressures. We just have scrutineering and documentation to complete and then the long build-up is over. We’re well prepared — better than last time — and we all feel good about the challenge that lies ahead.”

2009 “Dakar” winners Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in the #301 Hilux will start today’s opening special stage in second place behind former winner Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar and Lucas Cruz of Spain in an American V8 buggy.

SA Off-Road champions Duncan Vos and Rob Howie (#312 Hilux) will start 13th.

Today’s first stage consists of a 250 km liaison section followed by a 13 km special that will end in Pisco.

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