From one extreme to another

Toyota’s journey to the 2017 Dakar Rally

Dakar’s back for its ninth successive year in South America but this with this year’s addition of Paraguay making this race a true terrain challenge.

In this year’s competition 491 teams take part in a 9000-kilometer race across some the world’s most challenging off-road terrain in the greatest endurance race on Earth.

Dakar 2017 alternates difficulty and terrain across Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay with contestants’ form 60 countries on a demanding route which includes treacherous dunes and high altitude mountains.

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Requiring months of physical preparation, mechanical fine-tuning and logistical adjustments, the rally warms up in Asuncion, Paraguay on 2 January. After the first selective section the drivers will cross the border into Argentina, heading towards Resistencia for the second stage. The rise in temperature and altitude will accompany a drastic change of scenery. On the Bolivian Altiplano excellent climbing technique, vigilance and lucidity is required. Navigating for 6 days at an altitude over 3,500 meters will push the drivers to the extremes.

The large variety of terrain makes the selective sections towards La Paz, the highest altitude capital in the world, very demanding. After the rest day, the rally takes off for the marathon stage crossing sandy tracks and dune sectors towards Uyuni and Salta. Stage 9 to Chilecito involves covering nearly 1,000 kilometers in one day. This is a tough test for the navigators. After a long trail section, the San Juan dunes will be the final to surf to the end of a unique experience.

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The 38th iteration of the race sees Toyota GAZOO Racing South Africa compete with an upgraded 4WD Hilux in the super production category. TGRSA will enter two teams: Qatari driver Nasser Al-Attiyah with French navigator Matthieu Baumel in #301 and South African driver Giniel de Villiers with German navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz in #302. In the production category Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body (TLC) will be driving the Toyota Land Cruiser 200 series. Two teams will enter: Veteran French driver Christian Lavieille and navigator Jean-Pierre Garcin in #327 and Japanese driver Akira Miura with French navigator Laurent Lichtleuchter in #332.

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