Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs on the Dakar-2017 won in the standings of production cars
Toyota Land Cruiser 200 SUVs once again became the best among production cars in the Dakar-2017 rally-marathon and took the entire podium in the Production / T2 category.
Almost nine thousand kilometers of distance, incredibly difficult road conditions, the weather, which threw unpleasant surprises to the participants – this is what the Dakar-2017 rally-raid, a competition, which is rightly called the most difficult race in the world.
However, no one and nothing could break the unshakable character of Toyota SUVs, once again triumphant in the standings of production cars. In addition, Toyota again set a record for the number of crews represented in the race. In fact, Toyota’s SUVs and prototypes have become the default choice for almost every second member of the legendary raid marathon.
In 1979, this rally-raid was conceived as an adventure in the desert for strong-spirited pilots on practically production cars. That is why Toyota traditionally relies on production cars. This is not only a tribute to the tradition, but also a clear confirmation of the outstanding off-road potential and the unparalleled reliability of Toyota cars.
The first three places in the T2 category were left behind two pilots of the factory team Toyota Auto Body, Christian Laviel and Akiro Miura, as well as Denis Berezovsky from Kazakhstan (Team Astana). All of them spoke at the Toyota Land Cruiser 200, which confirmed the status of the fastest and most enduring serial SUV among all the participants of the Dakar.
The racing version of the model differs from a serial SUV only in minor modifications, including a safety cage, a sports air filter, special tires, a reinforced suspension and navigation equipment. Not surprisingly, the racing Land Cruiser 200 is the most popular racing car for participants in the Production / T2 category.
Great hopes this year were also pinned on the pilots of the Toyota GAZOO Racing team, which represents the interests of the brand in the Superproduction / T1 class. The famous and highly experienced Nasser Al Attiyah from Qatar and Giniel de Villiers got at their disposal the well-proven all-wheel drive Toyota Hilux models. High results in training tests, as well as the convincing victory of the crew of Nasser Al Attiyah / Mathieu Bomel at the World Cup rally raids allowed us to count on a successful performance in Dakar. The experienced Spanish rider Nani Roma, who spoke at Toyota Hilux, prepared by the Belgian company Overdrive, also called for support from the two crews of Toyota GAZOO Racing.
And at first the race in South America was dictated by Toyota pilots. Nasser Al-Attiyah confidently won the first stage of the rally-raid, passing through the roads of Paraguay. The next day, the pilot of Toyota GAZOO Racing finished in second place, just half a minute losing to nine-time world rally champion Sebastian Loeb. Already at the beginning of the third stage, Al-Attiyya regained the leadership in the race and began to confidently increase the lead over all rivals. But towards the end of the stage, luck turned away from the Qatar driver.
Seriously damaging the wheel in his car, Al-Attiyah lost almost an hour. To overcome the incredible obstacles and fight to the last – the credo of Nasser Al-Attiy. Even such a serious accident did not stop the crew on the way to the target. Let on three wheels, but Nasser managed to get to the finish line of the stage, breaking an impressive segment of the path. And although the withdrawal was an absolute disappointment for the current holder of the World Cup for rally-raids, the pilot from Qatar for his courage and bravery should have only one feeling – pride. That is the case when the crew did everything they could.
The Spaniard Nani Roma was more fortunate: the Toyota Hilux pilot of the Overdrive team was the only one, in fact, a participant in the Dakar, who managed to compete with Peugeot’s monodrive buggies. At the finish in Buenos Aires, Nani Roma was fourth in the overall standings. After the failure in the third stage, Giniel de Villiers spent the remaining part of the rally-raid very worthy and eventually finished in the 5th position in the overall standings.
The traditional victory in the class of production models and a record number of Toyota cars at the start (36 crews out of 79, that is, 45% of all participants represented Toyota) make it possible to speak of the current “Dakar” as another brand success. Toyota, not in words, but in practice, demonstrated unsurpassed reliability and endurance, as well as the phenomenal off-road characteristics of its models.
In addition to aspects of wrestling, it is worth noting that in the current “Dakar”, like a year ago, Toyota received the status of the official car “Dakar”. All cars support and cars for the organizers of the race provided Toyota.