A third South African team has been confirmed to compete in next year’s Dakar Rally in South America.
Thomas Rundle and Juan Mohr will compete privately in the same Toyota Hilux in which Duncan Vos and Rob Howie finished 10th in the 2012 Dakar Rally and which took the Toyota Motorsport pair to victory in the 2012 national offroad championship.
It will be Mohr’s and Rundle’s first attempt at the world’s longest and toughest motor race and the realisation of a long-held dream for both experienced offroaders. The pair earned a free entry, valued at around R400 000, after they won the Dakar Challenge that formed part of the Toyota Botswana 1000 Desert Race in June, where they finished sixth overall.
“The Dakar Rally is the ultimate challenge for an offroad racer and it has always been my dream to compete in it,” said Rundle.
“While we will be genuine privateers with our own back-up team and support vehicles, our Hilux will be prepared for us by Toyota Motorsport and shipped to Argentina in December along with the two factory Hilux V8s.
In August Toyota South Africa announced that former Dakar champion Giniel de Villiers will again spearhead a two-car works team with German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz in a Toyota Imperial Hilux.
The seat of the second works Hilux will be filled by Toyota rally star Leeroy Poulter, who takes over from Duncan Vos. Rob Howie, who was co-driver for Vos, will navigate for Poulter.
The two new racing Toyota Hilux 4x4s were built in Toyota Motorsport’s workshop near Kyalami.
De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz won the Dakar Rally in a VW Touareg in 2009 and have come tantalisingly close to another victory in the event after moving to Toyota, scoring third place on Toyota’s debut in 2011 and second in the last two years.
The 2014 Dakar Rally starts in Rosario in Argentina on January 5 and ends in the Chilean city of Valparaiso on January 18. -Pretoria News