The Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa team arrived safely on location in South America, and have been progressing well with preparations for Dakar 2016. The team also completed a shakedown of the three competing Toyota Hilux vehicles, confirming that they are ready to tackle the world’s toughest motorsport event, which starts on January 2nd in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.
“Today’s shakedown was another massive milestone, on our march to the start of the Dakar,” explained Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall, after completion of the test runs. “But even so, the team still has a mass of work to complete before the flag drops for the start.”
The team is currently based near Toyota Argentina’s plant at Zarate, roughly one hour’s drive north of Buenos Aires, which serves as HQ during this final preparation stage. The area was also the scene of the shakedown session, which is essentially a test run that is designed to bed down and settle all the cars’ components after reassembly. The vehicles were flown to South America earlier in December, together with a veritable mass of spare parts and the equipment needed to campaign three vehicles in the Dakar Rally.
“Our biggest task right now is to pack all those parts and pieces of equipment into our two T5 support trucks,” continued Hall. “This is a truly daunting task, but one that is a critical cog in the process. In the end we need to be able to lay our hands on any part or tool at a moment’s notice, so this logistical task is extremely important.”
Once the team has completed their final preparations, they will attend a comprehensive scrutineering session at race HQ in Buenos Aires. Both the vehicles and team personnel will be expected to conform to the rigorous rules of the race, before being allowed to take part in the ceremonial start proceedings on January 2nd.
This year the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team consists of three Toyota Hilux race vehicles, campaigned by former Dakar winner Giniel de Villiers, current South African National Cross-Country champion Leeroy Poulter, and Saudi racing sensation Yazeed Al-Rajhi. They are partenered by Dirk von Zitzewitz, Rob Howie and Timo Gottschalk respectively.
This edition of the Dakar Rally will see competitors start in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires on January 2nd, 2016. The route then travels northwards through Argentina and into Bolivia, before heading back to the Argentine city of Rosario, for the finish on January 16th, 2016.