Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa has made the decision not to take part in this year’s Silkway Rally, in order to focus on the development of their race-proven Toyota Hilux, with Dakar 2018 in mind. Both Giniel de Villiers and Leeroy Poulter were originally scheduled to compete in the mammoth event, but will now no longer take part.
“It is not a decision we have taken lightly, as we value the Silkway Rally as one of the toughest events on the international cross-country racing calendar,” explains Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall. “However, the expected rule changes by the FIA have not been implemented in time for the 2017 race, and as such we would rather now shift our focus to the further development of our car for 2018.”
Toyota Gazoo Racing SA have decided to allocate its remaining budget for 2017 to projects that directly benefit the development of the 2018 Toyota Hilux.
“We won’t rule out participation in the Silkway Rally in the future,” continued Hall, “but for 2017, participation no longer makes sense in terms of our development plans.”
Since Toyota Gazoo Racing SA shares infrastructure with Belgian outfit Overdrive Racing on international events, Overdrive Racing has decided to also withdraw the entry for Nasser Al Attiyah from this year’s Silkway Rally.
Back on home soil, Toyota Gazoo Racing SA dominated the Toyota 1,000 Desert Race, one of Africa’s most iconic motor races. After a tough, three-day battle, former Dakar winner Giniel de Villiers, partnered with navigator Dennis Murphy, emerged triumphant. His winning margin was only six seconds after 1,000 km of racing, with Poulter and navigator Rob Howie, in an identical Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux right on their heels.
Further information regarding the team’s international race participation for the remainder of the season follows in due course, and the team will continue to compete in the South African Cross Country Series – a championship they currently lead.