THE ‘tough guy’ reputation enjoyed by Toyota’s Hilux has received a boost with the pick-up taking second place on the gruelling Dakar Rally in South America.
Our reliability enabled us to not only master the Dakar, but also made the decisive difference.
The rally, described as the world’s toughest off-road motorsport event, runs for two weeks over 5,000 miles (8,000km) through the deserts of Peru, Argentina and Chile.
The Hilux was prepared for the event by Team Hallspeed for Toyota South Africa, and crewed by Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz.
South African de Villiers and his German co-driver von Zitzewitz finished the rally in third place in 2012 scoring the best Dakar Rally finish for a petrol-engined car in three years. This time. they went one better, taking the Hilux across the finish line in Santiago 42 minutes and 22 seconds behind the victorious X-Raid Mini of 11-time Dakar winner Stephane Peterhansel.
De Villiers said: “Second place counts as a victory for us. Last year we exceeded our expectations by far, and would never in our wildest dreams have believed that on the 2013 Dakar we would better our third place from 2012. The competition this year was a lot stronger. There were numerous candidates for victory; we were the underdogs.
“Our reliability enabled us to not only master the Dakar, but also made the decisive difference. Our three-year programme got off to a first-class start, and I am looking forward to next year.”
Von Zitzewitz added: “Our performance was the result of superb reliability – a strong car that has been carefully developed, and a super team.”
Five examples of the Toyota Hilux finished in the Dakar top 20.
OK, powered by a 5-litre V8 engine, the Dakar-specification Hilux is a little different from the production model sold to business van users in the UK but the reliability that’s a Hilux hallmark valued by businesses can only be re-inforced by the success .