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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

New Toyota Fortuner SUV official car of the 4x4 Eco Challenge

Toyota’s new Fortuner SUV will be the star of the 2006 4x4 Eco Challenge which is expected to attract hundreds of entries from a dozen countries throughout Africa. All contestants will compete in a variety of special tasks in identical Fortuner 3.0 D-4D 4x4s with 10 successful two-member teams joining the finals of the 4x4 Eco Challenge in remote and little-travelled areas of Mozambique.

It is the sixth running of the Goodyearsponsored annual event, which is the stuff that dreams are made of, previous pioneering events being staged against the backdrop of Namibia’s towering sand dunes, war-torn Southern Angola, Zambia’s game-rich Liuwa Plains and the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park between South Africa and Mozambique. The 2006 Eco Challenge adventure, which will be led by prominent environmentalists, will be an all-Toyota affair consisting of 10 competing Fortuners with logistical support from two other Fortuners, a pair of Hilux double cabs, a Land Cruiser station wagon and a Land Cruiser pickup affectionately known as "Brutus".

"We are very excited to form part of the launch strategy for this rugged new Toyota," Gerhard Groenewald, founder and organiser of the 4x4 Eco Challenge said. "We obviously have high expectations based on the phenomenal performance and reliability of the mechanically similar Toyota Hilux double cabs used during the 2005 event."

Last year it was a baptism of fire for the new-generation Hilux in its first major public off-road role as the vehicle of choice for the Eco Challenge in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. "Absolutely awesome is the only way to describe the performance of the 12 Hilux double cabs we used," according to Groenewald. "They proved formidable in the dunes, and utterly reliable under a variety of challenging conditions with their cumulative mileage running to hundreds of thousands of kilometres. Without doubt the flagship Hilux D-4D model was a significant step ahead and other manufacturers will have to play catch up now."

New for the 2006 event is the replacement of the regional selection programme with a training phase, as it was discovered on previous events that one or both members of each team often needed special 4x4 training. Contestants can now be trained at a number of recommended venues throughout South Africa, with the organisers also offering to travel anywhere that 10 or more two-member teams require training. From there the action moves to a rigorous selection process during May and June in the red Kalahari dunes of a Northern Cape farm, near Upington, in preparation for the final event in Mozambique between August 24 and September 7.

Competitors will be expected to be ambassadors for responsible Earth-friendly 4x4 driving with an exciting competition that combines overlanding skills with an emphasis on Nature knowledge. The vehicles are completely standard and will enjoy Toyota’s normal three year/100.000 km warranty and a three year/90.000 km service plan, along with free roadside assistance during the warranty period.

For more information visit [ ] and [].

2006/03/21 I 20:27 CET I Editor: za

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