Dakar rally tradition drives Toyota forward
Mountain roads at 4,700 metres. Sand dunes in 47-degree scorching heat. Sharp, tire-piercing rocks, deep river-crossings and visibility hindering dust and rainstorms. Not exactly a Sunday drive in Caledon. Yet the engineering that goes into creating Toyota’s incredible tradition at the Dakar Rally is passed down to production models that Canadian’s drive everyday.
THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST The greatest and toughest rally in the world, the Dakar’s history has been written in the heart of some of the world’s most stunning deserts and belongs to the world of the greatest sporting challenges of our time. Both a motor race and an orienteering challenge, the Dakar Rally pits some of the world’s greatest long-distance rally drivers against amateur competitors for whom the race is often the culmination of their dreams and who come to take up the challenge with their motorcycles, quad bikes, cars – and in particular, Toyota trucks. Participants of fifty nationalities come together every year for the race.
A HUMAN ADVENTURE
Having become an international event, which gathers together men and women of more than 50 different nationalities, the Dakar draws on a thirst for interaction and the open-mindedness of its competitors, who all crave to explore the deserts of the world and to push themselves to the limit. The places on the final podium represent an exceptional challenge, sometimes that of a lifetime. Apart from the standings, all the competitors are motivated by this resolute desire, an almost crazy dream to finish the race. The tradition of solidarity, a principle which is one of the pillars of the “Dakar Spirit”, stems from this shared passion.
AN EXTREME COMPETITION
The Dakar is the pinnacle of the motor sports discipline and inspires adventurers as much now as it ever has. More than just a simple question of racing and speed, the Dakar requires off-piste navigational skills and consistency. In off-road races, endurance prevails and the slightest mistake costs dearly. Coping with the living conditions, managing fatigue, and weighing up the risks of the race can only be achieved by a combination of peak physical condition and impeccable technical skills. Over the past thirty-six years, this combination of physical rigour and technical performance has appealed to champions and little known competitors from a wide variety of backgrounds, all wanting to experience and make their mark on this extraordinary event.
A TOYOTA TRADITION Solid reliability. That’s what makes Toyota vehicles a mainstay of Dakar since the first event held in 1979. Toyota vehicles (Land Cruiser and Hilux) have become overwhelmingly popular among competitors as “the most suitable vehicles for completing the course” due to their robustness, run-through performance and maintainability. In the 1st running, only 74 vehicles completed the course and 13 of them were Toyota vehicles. In the 24th event (2002), a large proportion of vehicles completing the race were Toyota vehicles – 44%. Nearly one out of every two vehicles arriving at the finish line in Dakar was a Toyota vehicle. In 2016, Nicolas Gibon (Team Land Cruiser) won for the third consecutive time in the Production Category. Toyota Gazoo Racing (South Africa) finished in 3rd, 5th, and 11th positions. n written by John Huckle,
With files from dakar.com and Toyota Global