Toyota Motorsport South Africa has won the first 2014 Dakar Rally battle by meeting the SAA Cargo deadline on Friday for delivery of the two Toyota Imperial Hilux double cab pickups that will contest the 9500-km 14-day marathon race in South America in January.
The precious cargo, together with six tons of spare parts and equipment, was flown to Buenos Aires in Argentina on Sunday. When the 21-strong Toyota Imperial South Africa Team arrives in Buenos Aires on December 29, they will truck the vehicles and equipment the 80 kilometres to Zerate, where Toyota Argentina’s assembly plant is located. Here the technicians will unpack all the equipment and repack it into two support trucks that travel between the overnight bivouacs as well as a race truck that follows the competing cars with essential spares.
The two Toyota Imperial Hilux 4x4s will be reassembled in readiness for a pre-race shake down and final test in Rosario, the rally start point, on January 2. Afterwards there will be documentation and scrutineering in Rosario on January 3 before the two South African bakkies line up on the start line on January 5. The 36th Dakar Rally finishes in Valparaiso in Chile on January 18.