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The 2018 Dakar Rally: Toyota again rises to the challenge!

Dakar Route Map 2018.jpgThe toughest race in the world, the legendary Dakar Rally will be returning on January 6th. The competitors of the 40th Dakar Rally will tackle the race in a range of vehicles, including trucks, cars, quads, bikes, experimental/machines and more.  

The 2018 Dakar Rally will mark the 10th time the event has taken place in South America and a return to Peru after five years away. The rally raid will take the competitors through high altitude mountains, perilous dunes and off-road courses filled with rocks, holes, mud and “fesh fesh”, a super fine powder-like sand. Racing almost 9,000km, the competitors will be pushed to the limit through 14 stages before reaching the goal in Cordoba, which is hosting the finish line for the first time. 

Toyota will once again be demonstrating why they are such an established name in the event with several teams piloting their highly dependable Hilux and Land Cruiser vehicles to glory. 

Returning to Peru allows the rally to explore unknown territories, immediately throwing the competitors into vast sandscapes and placing the difficulty bar high from the get go. This will set the overall theme for the first five days of the rally as they tackle huge, rugged sections with the longest sandy-section ever attempted on day four, with a total of 100km of racing over dunes.

After their Peruvian adventure, the competitors will then battle Bolivian mountains, racing at altitudes of over 2,500 meters. Luckily, teams will be given a rest day to help acclimatize with the extreme environment. However the challenge won’t get any easier as they will soon take on a 500km marathon stage taking them up to over 3,500 meters above sea level. 

From there, the competitors will descend as they enter Argentina. No stranger to the Dakar, a vast majority of Argentina has already been covered in previous rallies, though, the sandy plateaus that the pilots face will be new territory. The rising temperatures here presents many problems for the drivers as the sand becomes softer and more difficult to trek through. Continuing south, the competitors will face not only more sand but large sections of “fesh fesh” abundant in the 13th stage, which is just shy of 1,000km of racing in one day.

Before the competitors can enjoy reaching the finish line in Cordoba they will have to face around 30 different rocky passageways and a plethora of unforeseen challenges, requiring them to keep their wits up until the very end. 

The stage schedule is as follows:

  • 06/01 Start podium in Lima, stage to Pisco (Peru)
  • 07/01 Stage 2: Pisco to Pisco looped stage (Peru)
  • 08/01 Stage 3: Pisco to San Juan de Marcona (Peru)
  • 09/01 Stage 4: San Juan de Marcona to San Juan de            

Marcona looped stage (Peru)

  • 10/01 Stage 5: San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa (Peru)
  • 11/01 Stage 6: Arequipa to La Paz (Bolivia)
  • 12/01 Rest Day
  • 13/01 Stage 7: La Paz to Uyuni (Bolivia)
  • 14/01 Stage 8: Uyuni to Tupiza (Bolivia)
  • 15/01 Stage 9: Tupiza to Salta (Argentina)
  • 16/01 Stage 10: Salta to Belén (Argentina)
  • 17/01 Stage 11: Belén to Chilecito (Argentina)
  • 18/01 Stage 12: Chilecito to San Juan (Argentina)
  • 19/01 Stage 13: San Juan to Córdoba (Argentina)
  • 20/01 Stage 14: Córdoba to Finish looped stage (Argentina)

The 2018 rally promises to be as just as physically challenging as the years before with five days in a row amidst the Peruvian sand dunes followed by long stretches of racing over 3,500m and days reaching 900km of racing. 

[Meeting the teams]

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa (TGRSA) will be entering the Super Production category, fielding an all-new version of their 4WD Hilux. With a new mid-engine layout, larger air restrictor and dialed in suspension set up, the new car will be able to provide excellent levels of balance and handling. TGRSA will represent three teams in the 2018 Rally. In car #301 will be the returning Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah with French navigator Matthieu Baumel. 2017 saw the pair leading the rally early on before retiring due to a wheel being ripped off. Now they are back to rewrite history. In car #304 is committed Toyota South African driver Giniel de Villiers with German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz who have raced together with Toyota since 2012. In car #309 will be TGRSA newcomers, Dutch driver Bernhard Ten Brinke and legendary French navigator Michel Perin.

Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body (TLC) will be entering two Land Cruisers into the Production category again for the 2018 rally. With an updated front and rear design, the vehicles look as impressive as ever. In car #328 will be French driver and winner of last year’s Production category Christian Lavieille and navigator Jean-Pierre Garcin. In car #337 will be Japanese driver Akira Miura who will be racing alongside French navigator Laurent Lichtleuchter. This will be the third rally for the pair, who will be looking to improve on their 2017 second place finish.