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Dakar Rally 2014: Toyota leads South Africa´s Challenge in Dakar Rally.

What do you do for an encore after finished third and then second in the Dakar Rally? If you´re Toyota, whose core business principles include continuous improvement, you aim for first and what would be a momentous victory, not only for Toyota but also for South Africa.

After finishing third in Toyota South Africa Motors´ first attempt at the world´s longest and toughest motorsport event in 2012 and second this year, the Toyota Imperial South Africa Team will attempt to win the 35th running of the Dakar Rally in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile in January 2014 in what would be a major coup for South African motorsport.

Carrying the hopes of all South African sport fans will be 2009 winners and 2013 runners-up Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz and Dakar rookie Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie, who navigated Duncan Vos to 10th place in 2012. They will be at the wheels of two new racing Toyota Imperial Hilux V8 4x4s designed and built by Toyota Motorsport South Africa and currently nearing completion in their workshop in Johannesburg.

"The Dakar is a huge challenge and we must be realistic about our chances of winning," said team principal Glyn Hall. "Just to complete the 8 500-kilometre route through two countries over 14 days, with its 13 timed special stages, is an achievement. We are very proud of our podium finishes in the last two events and we will be aiming to finish on the podium again. We´ve all worked very hard so far to achieve this objective and we have a new Hilux to help us do it. A win would be a great reward for the whole team and for its sponsors."

Hall points out that the team is not going for the first time. "We know what to expect. We´re not looking to make major changes, we don´t need to. We have a very successful package which we´ve developed over the past three years and the results we´ve achieved have shown this," asserted Hall.

"But we do have to improve our overall performance, just as our rivals will be doing, if we want to remain competitive. It´s really a case of fine tuning - it´s in the detail that we have been able to make meaningful improvements.

"Everything we´ve learnt in the past two Dakars and in every test we´ve completed - like our week in the Namib Desert - we´ve built into our new car. We tested a lot of new things in Namibia, things that were quite different to what we did preparing for this year´s Dakar."

For Dakar Rally veterans De Villiers (41) and Von Zitzewitz (45), a German but considered by the team to be an honorary South African, it will be the 11th time each of them has competed in the event, with De Villiers at the wheel of a car on each occasion and Von Zitzewitz once on a motorcycle (he was rookie of the year when he finished fifth in 1997) and 10 times as a co-driver.

For Poulter (33), more used to being a front runner in the national rally championship in a Castrol Team Toyota Yaris, it will be a once in a lifetime first appearance in the big daddy of all off road races, while Howie (40) will be navigating his way across South America for the third year in a row. Poulter, like De Villiers, is one of South Africa´s most versatile motor sportsmen, having won national championships in motocross, karting and circuit production car racing as well as boasting a national rally class championship and world karting championships.

The 2014 Dakar Rally starts in Rosario in Argentina on January 5 and ends in the Chilean city of Valparaiso on January 18. There will be seven special stages in Argentina as well as a rest day in Salta on January 11. Chile will host six special stages. The motorcycle competitors will also have a marathon stage and an overnight stop in Bolivia.

2013/11/19 | 20:49 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/JACKSON

Dakar Rally 2014: Nani Roma und Michel Périn win the legendary desert rally. | 20.01.2014 20:07 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Xavier Foj and Toyota achieves third place in T2 cars class. | 20.01.2014 19:56 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Honda Team HRC satisfied with 2014, begins work for 2015. | 20.01.2014 19:46 |

Dakar Rally 2014: GWM/Haval achieves another Top 10 position in Dakar 2014. | 20.01.2014 19:38 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Solid finish for Lucio Alvarez and new Ford Racing team. | 20.01.2014 19:32 |

Dakar Rally 2014: De Villiers and Dabrowski as 4th and 7th best Toyotas. | 19.01.2014 21:46 |

Dakar Rally 2014: 2013 winner Cyril Despres finishing fourth after tough race. | 19.01.2014 21:23 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Ronan Chabot and Gilles Pillot in fast finish in the Dakar. | 19.01.2014 21:14 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Team El Martillo Racing finished in their first Dakar Rally. | 19.01.2014 20:15 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Riwald Dakar Team crosses the finish line in Valparaiso. | 19.01.2014 20:01 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: TRUCKS daily and overall after SS12 on Friday | 18.01.2014 00:45 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: CARS daily and overall after SS12 on Friday | 18.01.2014 00:43 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: BIKES daily and overall after SS12 on Friday | 18.01.2014 00:42 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Orlando Terranova celebrates his first stage win in SS11. | 17.01.2014 02:51 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Strong show from Argentine Alvarez in arid Atacama in SS11. | 17.01.2014 02:21 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Team HRC riders overcome long stage and maintain posis. | 17.01.2014 01:54 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Third stage victory for overall bikes leader Marc Coma. | 17.01.2014 01:47 |

Dakar Rally 2014: No surprises for Speedbrain team in Atacama stage 11. | 17.01.2014 01:41 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: TRUCKS daily and overall after SS11 on Thursday | 17.01.2014 01:36 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: CARS daily and overall after SS11 on Thursday | 17.01.2014 00:31 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: BIKES daily and overall after SS11 on Thursday | 16.01.2014 23:25 |

Dakar Rally 2014: The tenth stage brought gold - Stagewin for Czech Loprais. | 16.01.2014 22:48 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Team Dessoude with the last two cars reached the finish SS10. | 16.01.2014 22:46 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Ford´s Alvarez - "We handled it well and did a good job". | 16.01.2014 22:42 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Carlos Sainz "I'm really disappointed to be out of the race". | 16.01.2014 21:17 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Robby Gordon and his HST Gordini 22nd after Stage 10. | 16.01.2014 20:32 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Great Wall Haval and Lavieille moves up after Stage 10. | 16.01.2014 20:27 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Iveco-pilot Gerard de Rooy still on the lead after SS10. | 16.01.2014 20:00 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Mini´s are leading 1-2-3, second stagewin for Al Attiyah. | 16.01.2014 01:55 |

Dakar Rally 2014 BLOG: Dongfeng Challenge heading forward to Antofagasta. | 16.01.2014 01:54 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: TRUCKS daily and overall after SS10 Wednesday | 16.01.2014 00:29 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Spectacular double for Honda - Barreda still second overall. | 15.01.2014 23:40 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Bad luck for Speedbrain - Israel Esquerre out after crash. | 15.01.2014 23:37 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Coma continues to lead the Dakar after SS10 Antofagasta. | 15.01.2014 22:26 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: CARS daily and overall after SS10 on Wednesday | 15.01.2014 21:52 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: BIKES daily and overall after SS10 on Wednesday | 15.01.2014 21:23 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: TRUCKS daily and overall after SS09 on Tuesday | 15.01.2014 01:16 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: CARS daily and overall after SS09 on Tuesday | 14.01.2014 23:14 |

Dakar Rally 2014 RESULTS: BIKES daily and overall after SS09 on Tuesday | 14.01.2014 22:33 |

Dakar Rally 2014: Gerard De Rooy 2nd in SS08 with only a little loss of time. | 14.01.2014 22:31 |


















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