Dakar 2014 – Toyota Hilux South Africa

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Gerald Ferreira
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Rundle and Mohr to Contest 2014 Dakar Rally in DMACK / Barden Toyota Hilux

South Africa privateers Thomas Rundle and Juan Mohr have unveiled the Toyota Hilux in which they will contest the 2014 Dakar Rally in South America in January. It is the same vehicle that took Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz to second place in the 2013 Dakar Rally for the Toyota Imperial South Africa team in January.

The four-wheel-drive V8-engined Toyota Hilux, which will be backed by DMack/Barden, will compete in the T1 class alongside the two Toyota Motorsport South Africa entries of Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz and Leeroy Poulter/Rob Howie. It will carry the number 404 and will start in 103rd place when the 9 500-kilometre event gets underway from Rosario in Argentina on January 5.

It will be their first attempt at the world’s longest and toughest motor race and the realisation of a long-held dream for both experienced off roaders. The pair earned a free entry, valued at around R400 000, after they won the Dakar Challenge that formed part of the Toyota Botswana 1000 Desert Race in June, where they finished sixth overall.

“We are delighted to welcome DMack Tyres as our headline sponsor. They are a new sponsor to motorsport in South Africa and we are looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with them,” said Rundle.

“The Dakar Rally is the ultimate challenge for an off road racer and it has always been my dream to compete in it,” said the 30-year-old operations manager of the family-owned Barden tyre company in Pretoria. “We had originally negotiated to take over the Duncan Vos/Rob Howie Toyota Hilux from Toyota Motorsport, but were fortunate enough to obtain the De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz vehicle, which features independent rear suspension and is a more up-to-date version of the racing Hilux.”

Rundle started his off road racing career in 2004 in a Toyota Hilux and is delighted to be back in a Hilux.

“I have worked closely with Glyn Hall during my off road racing career and have received tremendous help and encouragement from him and his team.

“While we will be genuine privateers with our own back-up team and support vehicles, our Hilux has been prepared for us by Toyota Motorsport and will be shipped to Argentina in mid-December along with the two factory Hilux V8s.

“Juan and I have formed an excellent racing relationship over the past few years and we are quietly confident we can do ourselves and our country proud.”

Mohr is equally excited about competing in the Dakar. The 36-year-old project manager at Century Property Developments, who was the 2008 national off road co-driver champion, commented, “To compete in the Dakar alongside Thomas will be the highlight of my racing career.”

Rundle has spent time in the Namib Desert near Walvis Bay under the tuition of desert driving expert Don Nieuwoudt of West Coast 4×4 and he and Mohr also accompanied Toyota Motorsport to the Namibian dunes for more driving and navigational experience.

Their Dakar preparation programme also includes attending the High Performance Centre of the University of Pretoria’s Institute for Sports Science Research for strength and conditioning training and sessions with a dietician, physiotherapist and sports psychologist

“It’s a marathon 14-day drive through some of the toughest terrain in Argentina and Chile and we need to be in top physical and mental condition,” said Rundle, who added that they were also benefiting from working with Dr Sherylle Calder from Eyegym at the Sports and Science Institute of South Africa in Cape Town.

About DMack Tyres:

DMack Tyres is an England-based company and is an authorised supplier to the FIA World Rally Championship. The technical team has over 30 years of motorsport experience and the full range of competition tyres has undergone an extensive testing and development programme around the world to ensure high performance in the toughest conditions.

About Barden:

Barden is a Pretoria-based tyre, product and services related fitment company with 49 years of experience specialising in passenger, 4×4, commercial, truck, bus, agricultural and earthmoving vehicles.

Thomas Rundle acknowledges his sponsors and Dakar team partners DMack Tyres, Barden, Liqui Moly, Willard Powertech, DeWalt, Godrich Toyota, Cambist, Pioneer Plastics, Spiralsoft, Itec – Pretoria East, Chemvulc, EyeGym, Rudy Project Eyewear, Ruwacon, Vibro Bricks and Paving, Autozone, Olympus Panelbeaters, Maxwell Advertising & Design, PVM Nutritional Sciences, Steam Generation Africa, Ultimate Powder Coaters, Marina Colonna South Africa, Donaldson Filtration Solutions, Steed Bekker Waterproofing, Chopper Worx, KEC Electrical, Jodan Construction, Ah + A Electrical, Stargas, 4C Technology, PH Bagale, Clippa Sales/Mentos, FH Chamberlain Trading.

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