The Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa team taking part in the Dakar Rally in January saw all three of the official Toyota race vehicles shipped out to South America on 8 December.
The three-car team requires the shipping of 4.2 tons of airfreight, plus an addition 6.8 tons by sea. The vehicles themselves weigh in at 6.4 tons, bringing the total weight of equipment to be moved to South America to 17.4 tons.
“We always sigh a big sigh of relief when the cars are on their way,” explained Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall, after seeing the doors close on the three air freight containers containing the precious cargo. “So many things have to be completed in time, and the margins for error are razor thin at this point.”
“Taking part in the Dakar is a truly massive undertaking,” continued Hall. “The sheer number of spare parts and specialist equipment that need to be numbered, packed, shipped and unpacked on the other side is mind-boggling. To make things even more challenging, we shipped a portion of our parts by sea, with the rest following by air. This makes it even harder to coordinate things once we get to South America.”
The 2016 Dakar sees the introduction of a third factory entry, in the form of Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi and German navigator Timo Gottschalk. The pair will be lining up alongside South African veteran and former winner of the event, Giniel de Villiers and his long-serving German navigator, Dirk von Zitzewitz. Newly crowned South African Cross-Country champions, Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie, will also be returning for their third consecutive Dakar together.
The team now looks forward to some rest before departing for Argentina on 27 December. Once in Campama Argentina, their vehicles will be reassembled and the rest of the equipment will be packed into the support trucks ahead of the race.
This edition of the Dakar Rally will start in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires on 2 January 2016. The route then travels northwards through Argentina and into Bolivia, before heading back to the Argentine city of Rosario, for the finish on 16 January 2016.
View the route map here.