With the Dakar Rally starting in just over a month’s time, Toyota Gazoo Racing SA wrapped up their pre-race testing last week in the Kalahari, where temperatures climbed to 45 degrees.
The route comprised fast, flat sections; rocky jumps; and soft, sandy dunes – the perfect combination to emulate the conditions found on the Dakar Rally.
Both Giniel de Villiers and Leeroy Poulter added hundreds of additional test kilometers and De Villiers’ German navigator, Dirk von Zitzewitz, also gained valuable knowledge of the latest Toyota Hilux.
“The new Hilux is better than its predecessor in every way,” said De Villiers at the end of the test session. “The team has made incredible progress with the car, and I’m feeling very confident at the moment.”
De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz will again partner Poulter and Rob Howie for the 2016 Dakar Rally. However, this year also sees the addition of Saudi racing sensation, Yazeed al Rajhi to the team. He has German navigator, Timo Gottschalk, in the car beside him, and the pair completed a short test session of their own in South Africa earlier in November.
The team will now prepare the race vehicles, spare parts and tons of equipment for shipping to South America by December 8th, 2015, after which they will take a well-deserved break before departing for the Dakar on December 27th.
The event starts on January 2nd, 2016, and concludes in the Argentine city of Rosario on January 16th. In between lie 13 stages, run in Argentina and Bolivia, with a rest day on January 10th in the Argentine city of Salta.