TOYOTA IMPERIAL SOUTH AFRICA TEAM RETURN HOME FROM DAKAR RALLY TO HERO’S WELCOME
The Toyota Imperial South Africa Team returned home today from South America to a hero’s welcome after their magnificent achievement in finishing second overall in the Dakar Rally, which ended in Santiago, Chile, on Sunday after a 15-day marathon adventure.
The full team of driver, co-driver, engineer, technicians and physiotherapist, led by manager Glyn Hall, were met at OR Tambo International Airport by a sea of excited Toyota-red clad supporters and the media and were later the star attraction at a media conference in the airport’s Intercontinental Hotel.
On hand to congratulate the team was Dr Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota South Africa Motors and a Managing Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation, and senior TSAM executives. “We’re extremely proud of you and your outstanding achievement,” he told them. “To each and every one of you, our thanks for a magnificent team effort.”
Singling out the driver, Giniel de Villiers, and co-driver, Dirk von Zitzewitz, of Imperial Toyota Hilux #301, Dr van Zyl said they were living up to Toyota’s philosophy of respect for people and continuous improvement. “You finished third in 2012 and now you’ve finished second this year. Next year I expect you to come first,” he said with a broad smile.
Team manager and boss of Kyalami-based Toyota Motorsport Glyn Hall said it had been a privilege to be able to contest the Dakar for a second year with Toyota and said the overwhelming support from Toyota and from all South Africans had played a big role in the team’s success. “We not only came second overall, but we also won our class (T1.1 petrol-engined 4×4 vehicles) and achieved the highest position Toyota has ever enjoyed in this race.”
“The respect for the Dakar around the world is massive and our achievements in this, the world’s longest and toughest motor race, have not gone unnoticed,” added Hall. “Giniel and Dirk’s Hilux completed the 8 500 kilometres from Lima in Peru to Santiago in Chile with just a minor brake problem. Otherwise it was mechanically trouble-free and not one body panel was damaged.”
De Villiers said it had been a tougher race than the 2012 edition, with two crossings of the Andes Mountains at high altitude, extreme temperatures and dangerous river crossings.
“I’m very proud of our achievement,” said De Villiers, who won the Dakar Rally with Von Zitzewitz in 2009. “All the meticulous preparation and hard work by Glyn and his team, including building a brand new Hilux for us for this year’s race, paid off.
“This result is history now and it’s time to move forward. We must aim to do better next year. We have the team and we have the backing of Toyota and our other sponsors for the next two years. With a little more development of the racing Hilux and a bit of luck – winning the Dakar always requires some good luck – I think we can do it.”
Toyota Motorsport Acknowledges Its Dakar Sponsors, Specialist Official Suppliers and Technical Partners
Toyota, Imperial Toyota, Duxbury Netgear, SAA, SAA Cargo, Innovation Group, Toyota Financial Services, Blue Sky, Bosch, Castrol, DeWalt, Donaldson, Edgecam, 4×4 Mega World, Hallspeed, Mastercraft, Michelin, Mistral, NGK, Oakley, SKF, Spanjaard and TFM.