DE VILLIERS / VON ZITZEWITZ IN ACTION FOR TOYOTA ON RALLY OF MOROCCO
South Africa’s Dakar star, motorsport legend Giniel de Villiers, will be taking on the tough Rally of Morocco, which starts on October 4th, 2014. Together with long-standing navigator, Dirk von Zitzewitz, De Villiers will challenge nearly 160 other competitors, including big names such as Nasser Al-Attiyah, Orlando Terranova (MINI All4Racing), Lucio Alvarez (Toyota Hilux) and 2014 Dakar winner Nani Roma (MINI All4Racing).
Competing as the Toyota Imperial South African Dakar Team, De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz aim to gain valuable seat-time before the 2015 Dakar, and also test some new components for the Toyota Hilux in the process.
“The conditions in Morocco are similar to large parts of the Dakar,” says De Villiers. “And since this is also quite a long race, it is an ideal opportunity to test components and settings, and also to get reacquainted with the Toyota Hilux.”
The Rally of Morocco takes place over six stages, with a total race distance of 1,442 km. Starting in the town of Erfoud, the route heads North and West to Cheggaga via Damia and Merzane, before a grand finale in Marrakech.
De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz will be supported on the event by Team Overdrive, who supply race logistics and support to a large number of Toyota Hilux crews. A small team from South Africa will also be in Morocco to look after Giniel and Dirk.
“We are excited to be competing internationally again,” says Team Principle Glyn Hall. “Giniel and Dirk can only benefit from the additional seat time, and in terms of testing, the Rally of Morocco will be invaluable. With that said, we are already assembling the 2015 Dakar Toyota Hilux vehicles in the workshop.”
Testing for the Dakar has been under way throughout 2014, with a programme that covers more than 4,000 km over the course of the year. Despite this significant amount of testing, the Rally of Morocco remains a great event to confirm some durability items, as well as certain performance aspects of the car.
“We will have around 15 specific items to test during the race,” continues Hall, “including gear ratios, cooling, brakes, suspension and more.”
The vehicle that De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz will be campaigning in Morocco has seen action in the hands of Leeroy Poulter and navigator Rob Howie, on the local Donaldson Cross-Country Championship. This is Poulter’s first full season in the championship, but the Castrol Team Toyota Hilux has already been on the podium on four occasions.
Fans can follow the action via Toyota’s social media: twitter.com/toyotasa; and facebook.com/toyotasouthafrica.
Toyota Motorsport South Africa acknowledges its sponsors and specialist official supplier and technical partners:
Toyota, Imperial Toyota Group, Duxbury Netgear, Innovation Group, Toyota Financial Services, SAA Cargo, Sat4Rent, Bosch, Castrol, DeWalt, Donaldson, Edgecam, 4×4 Mega World, Hallspeed, Mastercraft, NGK, Oakley, SKF, Spanjaard, freeM, Smiths Industries and TFM.