The South African based Toyota Gazoo Racing team (TGR) might have established a legacy in the region after dominating the 1000 km Toyota Desert Race (TDR) since 2012. However, the TGR empire will not be complete until they win the Dakar Rally, which is the single biggest motorsport event in the world.
This past weekend TGR won the TDR with a comfortable lead proving that the local event has become practice for the 10 000 km week long Dakar Rally that is staged in South America. TGR has tried to win the race on numerous occasions without any success as the likes of Peugeot and Mini Cooper racing teams beat them to the finish line in recent races. However, Toyota team principal Glyn Hall said they just don’t want to win the Dakar for the Southern Africa region but they want to eventually lure the epic rally to the Southern African region.
In a post-race interview in Jwaneng this past weekend, Hall said they have been trying to bring the Dakar Rally to Southern Africa in the past few years. After co-host Bolivia and Uruguay pulled out of the 2019 event, speculation was rife that the race might come back to its roots in Africa.
The event will be exclusively staged in Peru for 2019. “Peru have confirmed that they are hosting the race but they have issues with the money they are asking for. I am sure the Dakar organisers will resolve it with the Peru government.
We have been trying to move the Dakar Rally to Southern Africa for a couple of years now but we need commitment from the countries and buy in from the Dakar organisation,” Hall said in the side-line of the TDR event.
“However, it takes a year and a half to organise the race, it is not easy to come and do the job. Hall said the Toyota Gazoo Racing program focuses in the South African Cross-Country Series so Toyota Hiluxes are big selling vehicles but their campaign is mixed in with the Dakar Rally, which is the biggest motorsport event in the world. If we can win this for South Africa and Southern Africa, that is our goal.
“The last time the Dakar was held in Africa was almost 10 years ago. The epic odyssey originally started from Paris, France and concluded in Dakar Senegal. The race that has been held since 1978 was moved to South America due to safety concerns. Botswana, South Africa and Namibia have suitable desert terrain for a Dakar event. Meanwhile, Hall said he had a great edition of the TDR with Gineil De Villiers coming in first and another factory team coming in second place. “It was a great day for Toyota, we started winning the Desert Race in 2012.
Since then we have had a very good run, the drivers are great and cars are fantastic”. Hall attributed the success of the team to hardwork, adding that the design team has made sure that the Toyota racing car is both fast and advanced. “There is also the technical staff who make sure the car is reliable and it doesn’t break. We will keep coming back to Botswana, if we have the opportunity.” Regarding their dominance in the SACCS and the TDR in the last few years, Hall said there is only one way to go when they are on top.