South Africa a formidable force at Dakar

South Africa has shown its strength in terms of building race winning specialised vehicles and having word class racing drivers again at this year’s Dakar race in Saudi Arabia.

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Top honours went to the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team from South Africa providing the winning Hilux for this year’s winner, France).

A previous Dakar winner form South Africa, Giniel de Villiers and co-driver Dennis Murphy took their Hilux to the fith position with De Villiers that had to face Covid-19 shortly before Nasser Al-Attiyah from Qatar and co-driver Mathieu Baumel (the kick-off of the gruelling race.

The winners in their South-African build Toyota Hilux, Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel.

The same fate hit another pair in the Toyota team with Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings that notwithstanding two stage wins, had to settled for the thirty-one sport overall. The fourth Hilux of the Toyota GR Team, driven by Shameer Variawa and co-driver Danie Stassen scored a well-deserved 15th place overall.

“What an epic victory for Nasser and Mathieu, and the entire team,” Glyn Hall, Team Principal, commented on the Toyota GR Team’s performance at the 2022 Dakar. “To come to Dakar and win with our new GR DKR Hilux T1+ first time out is amazing.

“I would like to dedicate this win to the memory of Dr. Johan van Zyl, who was a visionary leader and consistent supporter of the Toyota Gazoo Racing Dakar project over many years. We are extremely proud of what we achieved here this year, and I know the Doc would have been too,” he says.

TGR DKR22 STAGE 12 2002
TGR DKR22 STAGE 12 2003
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TGR DKR22 STAGE 12 2002
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TGR DKR22 STAGE 12 2004

Nasser Al-Attiyah says it is such an amazing feeling to win Dakar. “We led right from the beginning, and managed to control the pace throughout the race, making it an amazing win. I would like to thank Toyota Gazoo Racing and all our sponsors for the support. I would also like to thank our Team Principal and Technical Manager, Glyn Hall, for building this fantastic new Hilux T1+.

Another South African pair that showed exceptional pace and a brilliant result, was Brian Baragwanath and Leonard Cremer in their Century CR6 with an overall 14th position, just in front of Toyota’s Variawa and Lategan.

The South Africa pair of Chris Visser and Rodney Burke, also in a Century CR6 got an epic 29th place overall and another Century CR6 team of Ernest Roberts and Henry Kohne finished 39th overall.

At a press conference shortly after returning to South Africa, the CEO and President of Toyota South Africa, Andrew Kirby, congratulated the team on a job well-done. “Build in South Africa to the top of the podium of Dakar, is good for the country, it is good for motorsport, and it is good for Hilux,” he said.

At the press conference Glyn Hall said the amount of challenges the faces was tremendously from Covid to regulations and rules. “But we have now won Dakar in South Amerika and in the Middle East, which prove we belong in the top spot.”

He also said the the amount of organising and preparing took a huge effort end that they had to transport 11 000 kg of parts and equipment for the team.

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