Today sees the start of the 34th Dakar rally, which will run through South America from Lima, Peru, to Santiago, Chile; crossing 8000 km of inhospitable terrain. The Leisure Wheels team will be bringing you daily updates on the Dakar Rally, as well as team information and interesting links.
2013 will see a number of intrepid South Africans and South African vehicles enter in the hope of winning one of the toughest races on Earth. With 575 vehicles in 4 classes competing in 2013, its difficult to know who to look out for. Today we focus on the South African team, South Africans competing, the 2012 winners, and a newcomer to the local market, looking to prove themselves in their second Dakar.
Imperial Toyota Hilux
Toyota Imperial’s South African team will be driving a locally developed Hilux featuring a modified 5.0l V8 petrol engine, and will be the team that keep South African enthusiasts glued to their screens..
Car #301 will be piloted by 2009 Dakar winner Giniel de Villiers and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz. Car #312 will be manned by SA off-road champions Duncan Vos and Rob Howie. They finished 3rd and 10th respectively in the 2012 Dakar Rally, Toyota’s first attempt at the world’s longest and toughest motor race.
Monster X-Raid Mini
Likely the most experienced and successful team at Dakar 2013, a modified Mini Countryman piloted by 10 time winner Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Jean Paul Cottret will drive alongside former bike winner Joan Roma and co-driver Michel Périn to set the pace early on.
Peterhansel has six wins on a Yamaha motorcycle, three wins in a Mitsubishi Pajero and the 2012 win in a Mini, making him the most experienced driver at the top of the field.
Chinese manufacturer GWM have entered a team running a Haval (H5) SUV. Following their debut in 2012, GWM will again enter Carlos Sousa and Zhou Yong in the GWM Haval (locally the H5).
Sousa, who has raced for Mitsubishi, Nissan and Volkswagen, brings much needed experience and more importantly consistency to the effort. Over a ten year period, except for the disappointment of 2010, Sousa has never finished outside the top ten with a personal best of 4th in 2003.
Land Rover Race2Recovery
Featured on Top Gear recently, Land Rover Race2Recovery team will drive four Defender-based Wildcat race vehicles to become the first disabled team to compete in the Dakar rally.
In November and December 2012, Race2Recovery underwent training in the Sahara desert delivered by Land Rover’s team of off-road experts, providing essential knowledge and experience in the type of terrain the team will be facing over the rally’s 15 days.
The team operates to the motto ‘Beyond Injury – Achieving The Extraordinary’, and set up its Dakar Rally challenge in order to inspire people who may be injured, ill or facing adversity.
For the first time since moving from Europe/Africa to South America in 2009, the Dakar rally will begin in Lima, Peru, forming a North to South route.
The teams then move towards Tucumán, Argentina on 12th January and finish in Santiago, Chile on 19 January.
The stages are as follows
|12/01/2013||Salta||San Miguel de Tucumán|
|14/01/2013||San Miguel de Tucumán||Córdoba|
To Watch the Rally
Toyota will be sponsoring the Supersport coverage of the Dakar rally, shown daily around 22h00 on Supersport 2. Check the Supersport website for up-to-date programming information.
To view online, keep an eye on the Official Dakar Rally Twitter account and Facebook Page or the official live feed, as well as their YouTube channel. Of course, the Leisure Wheels team will be bringing you daily updates on the Dakar Rally, as well as team information and interesting links.
This is our short summary of Dakar 2013. Best of luck to all teams! Who are you supporting?