ABOUT DAKAR RALLY
WHAT’S THE DAKAR RALLY
Known for being the toughest rally raid in the world, the Dakar Rally is famous for its desert, mud and mountain pass racing. Driving upwards and over 800km a day in 40-degree heat, drivers and their vehicles have it as tough as they come. The competitor’s technique, mental and physical strength, mechanical skill and navigational skills are necessary to cover the 5000km of racing in just under two weeks. The rally is such a hard endeavor that it is said that “all drivers who complete the race are winners.” This in general results to more than half of the vehicles failing to finish the race. Drivers will come from over 50 countries, fighting against the elements all while being watched by a combined 3 million spectators online, with 70 television networks broadcasting worldwide.
IN THE RACE
Since 1979 when 13 of the 74 vehicles that finished were Toyotas, Toyota has participated in every year’s rally. Toyota’s quality, durability and reliability shine through in the Production category due to the rigid restrictions on possible modifications. This means that the base performance alone must be sufficient to reach the finish line. This base performance has made Toyota a favorite for privateers in the race, with many using Toyota-made vehicles. In the 2018 race alone, just under half of the cars that finished were Toyotas.
Racing under the name Imperial Toyota, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa first entered their specialized Toyota Hilux in 2012. In the years since the team has consistently placed in the Super Production top 10.
Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body have entered their Land Cruiser every year since 1995, nearly a quarter of a century ago. Throughout this time, they have fielded several versions of their reliable Land Cruisers, including the 80, 100 and 200 series, each with massive success. The team has accrued 17 wins out of 23 races including a 1st place finish in the Production category in 2018.
HISTORY OF THE DAKAR RALLY
The first Dakar Rally took place in 1978 when motorcycle racer Thierry Sabine organized a race across the Sahara Desert. This came about when Sabine found himself lost in the desert in a separate race the year before. The following year in 1979, the race became the more familiar three-week-long trek that began in Paris and ended in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. Two years later and the rally was officially certified by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) and truly entered into the world of motorsports.
The rally raced from Paris to Dakar for another 27 years until 2008 when due to safety concerns, the rally was canceled. Since then the rally has moved to race across South America. The location may be different, but the name and the heart of the African race remains.