Dakar 2014 Rally Rookies
Rundle And Mohr 25th On Debut In Dakar Rally
Privateers Thomas Rundle and Juan Mohr (DMack/Barden Toyota Hilux) successfully completed their first Dakar Rally, which ended in Valparaiso in Chile on Saturday afternoon, in a creditable 25th place overall. They were eighth in the T1.1 class for petrol-powered 4x4 improved cross country vehicles.
Driving the ex-Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz Hilux built by Toyota Motorsport in Johannesburg that finished second in last year’s Dakar, the Gauteng pair did themselves and their small team proud after earning a free entry into the world’s longest and toughest motor race by winning the Dakar Challenge in Botswana last June.
They ran as high as 17th on stage eight and enjoyed their best day’s’ result of 15th on stages seven and eight. Power steering and fuel pressure problems prevented them from finishing higher in the general classification after the 9 500-kilometre event’s 13 stages and 5 000 kilometres of racing section in Argentina and Chile.
“It has been a mega experience for Juan and I,” said Rundle. “We are very pleased to have finished and to have managed to do so in the top 25. At times we were not sure we’d make it to Valparaiso, but we kept our heads down and stuck to our game plan of driving within ourselves, taking no unnecessary risks and aiming just to finish.
“Our technical backup crew have been magnificent and we thank them for the many times they worked right through the night – including last night – to get the car ready for the next day’s start. We have all learnt a great deal about this unique race and we will be back to put this experience to the best use in 2015.
“I’d also like to thank Glyn Hall and Toyota Motorsport for their support and encouragement both before and during the rally. The Hilux has been mighty and we look forward to campaigning it in the upcoming South African cross country championship in the colours of our sponsors, DMack and Barden. We thank them for their generous support as well as the support of all of our team’s partners, which made it possible for us to compete in the Dakar this year.”
Nani Roma of Spain and French co-driver Michel Perin (Mini) won the race by 5m 38s from team-mates and defending champions Stephane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret of France and 56m 52s ahead of former champions and team-mates Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar and Spanish co-driver Lucas Cruz. Rundle and Mohr were 17h 49m 22s in arrears.
Thomas Rundle acknowledges his sponsors and Dakar team partners DMack Tyres, Barden, Liqui Moly, Willard Powertech, DeWalt, Godrich Toyota, Cambist, Pioneer Plastics, Spiralsoft, Itec - Pretoria East, Chemvulc, EyeGym, Rudy Project Eyewear, Ruwacon, Vibro Bricks and Paving, Autozone, Olympus Panelbeaters, Maxwell Advertising & Design, PVM Nutritional Sciences, Steam Generation Africa, Ultimate Powder Coaters, Marina Colonna South Africa, Donaldson Filtration Solutions, Steed Bekker Waterproofing, Chopper Worx, KEC Electrical, Jodan Construction, Ah + A Electrical, Stargas, 4C Technology, PH Bagale, Clippa Sales/Mentos, FH Chamberlain Trading, Raceworx KTM, Lynnwood Cyclery and Heather James Rundle.