The Imperial Toyota South Africa Team that will contest the 2012 Dakar Rally in Argentina, Chile and Peru in January will be flown to South America with their two racing Toyota Hilux double cab pickups courtesy of South African Airways.

Toyota Dakar 2012

This was announced today by Dr Johan van Zyl, President and CEO of Toyota South Africa Motors and Managing Officer of Toyota Motor Corporation, at an official farewell function for the team before their departure to Argentina later this month.

Dr van Zyl also announced that the ‘buy local’ marketing campaign, Proudly South African, had agreed to partner the all-South African team on its quest to bring South Africa a second victory in the world’s longest and toughest motor race.

“We are excited to be involved in the 2012 Dakar Rally though IMPERIAL Toyota and we’re particularly proud of the South African composition of this Dakar team.  So it is most appropriate that our national airline will be supporting us in this way and that we will also be flying the Proudly South African flag on this historic occasion,” said Dr van Zyl.

“It is the first time that South Africa has officially mounted such an assault in this famous marathon race.  In addition to all the members of the team, with the exception of Dirk von Zitzewitz, being South African, the two Toyota Hilux bakkies were built in South Africa by Hallspeed for Toyota Motorsport and the team is enjoying generous support from a number of South African companies, both as sponsors and as suppliers of specialist equipment and services.

“Without this support the project would not have been possible,” added Dr van Zyl.

“We wish the team every success in their endeavours during the first two weeks of January and we will be watching their progress every night on the Supersport television channel,” concluded Dr van Zyl.

Advocate Leslie Sedibe, CEO of Proudly South African said, “The Proudly South African Campaign is confident that the Imperial Toyota South Africa Team will epitomise the Proudly South African spirit and have the fundamental underpinnings required to present a good challenge to the other participants in the 2012 Dakar Rally.

“We therefore take pride in wishing the Imperial Toyota South Africa Team everything of the best in this exciting and very challenging race. We are all hopeful and know that both teams have all the skills, capabilities and talent to be able to go all the way in one of the most challenging motor races in the world.”

The Dakar Rally starts in the Argentine coastal resort city of Mar del Plata on January 1 and finishes in Lima, capital city of Peru, on January 15 after also passing through Chile.  It will be contested by 465 cars, trucks, motorcycles and quads who will compete over 14 special stages totalling 4 200 kilometres and a total distance of close to 9 000 km.

Former South African touring car and off road champion Giniel de Villiers, who won the 2009 Dakar Rally in South America, will drive one vehicle and will have as his co-driver the man who guided him to his first win, German Dirk von Zitzewitz.  The second Toyota Hilux will be in the hands of four times South African off road champion Duncan Vos and co-driver Rob Howie.

Toyota Motorsport Acknowledges Its Dakar Sponsors and Specialist Official Supplier and Technical Partners

IMPERIAL Toyota, Duxbury Netgear, Innovation Group, SAA, TFM, 4×4 Mega World, Blue Sky Satellite, Castrol, NGK, SKF, Ferodo, Spanjaard, Edgecam, Mastercraft, Donaldson, Oakley, Sparco, Shatterprufe and Supreme Spring.