PACKING FOR PERU – A RACE AGAINST TIME
Toyota Motorsport is engaged in a race of a different kind as the newly crowned South African off road champions grapple with the herculean task of packing some six tons of spares and equipment for the 2013 Dakar Rally in South America in January.
It’s a race against time and the deadline is just days away. On December 14 both of the Toyota Imperial South Africa Team’s Toyota Hilux 4x4s, partially disassembled and loaded on SAA Cargo pallets, and all the spares and equipment needed during the 15 days of the Dakar, packed in some 130 cases and stacked in three SAA Cargo aluminium containers, must be delivered to SAA at OR Tambo International Airport for the long flight to Lima in Peru.
Toyota Motorsport’s workshops in Barbecue Downs, just down the hill from the Kyalami grand prix circuit, are a hive of activity and it’s a case of all hands on deck.
“It’s a bit crazy around here just now,” admitted team principal Glyn Hall in something of an understatement, surrounded by wrapped large components and rows of boxes filled with smaller components.
“We have to take absolutely everything we need to look after the two race vehicles. That means spares for virtually every component of each of the two Imperial Toyota Hilux 4x4s. There are something like 4 000 individual items including a complete spare engine, spare gearboxes, front and rear diffs, more than two dozen drive shafts, suspension uprights and steering assemblies, steering racks, four dozen shock absorbers and spring assemblies, brake assembly kits, wiring harnesses, light assemblies 16 top wishbones and 28 lower wishbones.
When the 22-strong team (consisting of drivers, co-drivers, engineer, physiotherapist, technicians and team manager) arrive in Lima at the end of December, the technicians will unpack all this equipment and repack it into two support trucks that travel between the overnight bivouacs as well as a race truck that follows the competing cars with essential spares.
The two race Hilux 4x4s will be reassembled in readiness for a pre-race shake down and final test 50 km outside Lima in the first week of January. Afterwards there will be documentation and scrutineering in Lima before the two Imperial Toyota Hilux 4x4s line up on the start line in Lima on January 5, with Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in vehicle #301 and Duncan Vos and Rob Howie in vehicle #312.
“We also have a logistics truck that carries what we need to set up our pits and sleeping quarters at the bivouac – ‘easy-ups’, ground sheets, tents, sleeping bags and consumables,” Hall added. “During the race the rest of us travel a more direct route between bivouacs than the competitors in a fleet of Toyota Hilux pickups, Fortuners and Land Cruisers, as well as a 10-seater minibus.
“Packing and unpacking for the Dakar and moving everything from South Africa to Peru, Argentina and Chile, before returning to South Africa, is a massive operation which has to be carried out with military precision. There’s a lot of paperwork involved including customs clearance leaving and returning to South Africa as well as for our passage through the three countries the rally visits, Peru, Argentina and Chile.”
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.