Dream finish to the Dakar 2012. Team Imperial Toyota concluded their maiden foray into the ultimate test of endurance with a 3rd place for Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in the number 301 Hilux, an 11th place for Duncan Vos and Rob Howie in the number 313 sister car, while the team Overdrive entered South African Hilux of Lucio Alvarez and Andy Graue finished 6th in the 2012 edition of the Dakar – Argentina, Chile, Peru.
Today’s stage was a last, 26km run through the haunting desolation of the Atacama, before running towards and into Lima on a highway lined with thousands upon thousands of enthusiastic spectators. In Lima, crews were routed to the city square where they had the opportunity to drive onto and stop on a raised podium in front of their fans, a festive celebration of endurance and of the survivors.
The Imperial Toyota achievements are remarkable in their own right, without any qualification and Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz showed that they are a class act and true champions with their podium position.
It is interesting to note however, that the Hallspeed Hilux’s are built for the South African ABSA off road national championship and their engines are restricted in accordance to regulations that have been accepted internationally, including for the Dakar as from 2013. Of the many cars that adhered to this future Dakar specification, referred to as class T1.5 in the paddock, the South Africans finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd, a most encouraging result.
The result achieved by the South African Toyota Hilux’s would have pleased any team on its first attempt, regardless of the available resources and technical know how. For this team to have done so in a only few months with a comparatively modest budget is absolutely amazing, a feat that should make every South African proud.
The team will celebrate tonight and start the long flights home on board South African Airways tomorrow, 16 January to arrive in Johannesburg at 15:30 on Tuesday the 17th. They deserve a heroes’ welcome.
Toyota Motorsport Acknowledges Its Dakar Sponsors and Specialist Official Supplier and Technical Partners
IMPERIAL Toyota, Toyota South Africa Motors, Duxbury Netgear, Innovation Group, SAA, TFM, 4×4 Mega World, Blue Sky Satellite Communications, Castrol, NGK, SKF, Ferodo, Spanjaard, Edgecam, Mastercraft, Donaldson, Oakley, Sparco, Shatterprufe, Supreme Spring and Savino del Bene.