• South African Toyota Imperial team enter De Villiers in works Hilux
• Dutchman Ten Brinke joins Team Orlen duo of Dabrowski and Czachor
• Argentine Alvarez returns to Toyota line-up; Issabayev in Team Astana car
Overdrive Racing is sending a strong line-up of Toyota Hiluxes to next week’s OiLibya Rally of Morocco in a bid to continue its push for honours in the 2014 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies and its testing and development programme over desert terrain before the 2015 Dakar Rally.
In conjunction with Hallspeed of South Africa and the Toyota Imperial team, Belgium’s Overdrive Racing will field a fleet of Toyota Hiluxes on the gruelling six-day cross-country rally, which starts in Erfoud on Saturday, October 4th.
Heading the Toyota line-up will be former Dakar and Morocco winner and factory driver Giniel de Villiers in his works Hilux running under the Toyota Imperial Team banner. German Dirk von Zitzewitz is his usual co-driving partner, as the pair bid to continue the development of a car that has already achieved a podium finish for the team on the Dakar Rally.
The Polish duo of Marek Dabrowski and Jacek Czachor will drive a Team Orlen Toyota. The former cross-country motorcycle rider holds fourth in the FIA World Cup standings, with Russian Vladimir Vasilyev holding a 56-point overall advantage over Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah with two events remaining. In Morocco and Portugal.
Dutchman Bernhard Ten Brinke and Belgian co-driver Tom Colsoul will start their second event with the Overdrive Racing team after retiring from a top five position in the recent Baja Poland. Ten Brinke plans to run a Hilux in the 2015 Dakar Rally and sees the Moroccan event as a perfect opportunity to carry out more testing before he heads to South America in January.
Argentina’s Lucio Alvarez returns to the Overdrive Toyota line-up after tackling last year’s Dakar Rally with a Ford Ranger. Alvarez has new Belgian co-driver Fabian Lurquin reading his maps and taking charge of the navigation, but the Argentine has achieved some excellent results for Overdrive in the past and will be sure to push for the podium on this occasion.
Kazakh driver Bauyrzhan Issabayev runs a fourth Overdrive Toyota Hilux under the Team Astana banner and has Russian navigator Vladimir Demyanenko reading the maps.
Overdrive Racing will also oversee a Toyota Hilux for Czech driver Peter Jerie and his French co-driver Edouard Boulanger and has supplied two further Toyotas to South Racing. These two cars will be crewed by the Argentine Nazareno Lopez and his Portuguese co-driver Vitor Dinis Carita de Jesus and the Spanish driver Fernando Alvarez Castellano and his Argentine co-pilot Demian Guiral.
“This is a very strong line-up we have in Morocco and we are delighted to be working alongside the official Toyota Imperial South Africa Team again in advance of the Dakar,” said Overdrive Racing’s team director Jean-Marc Fortin. “It’s great to see Lucio back on board and to have our regular World Cup drivers with us for this difficult and important rally.”
Main competition to the Overdrive and Toyota Imperial South Africa teams comes from current FIA World Cup leader Vladimir Vasilyev of Russia and his team-mates Joan Roma, Martin Kaczmarski, Erik van Loon and Orlando Terranova.
After scrutineering and administration checks in Erfoud on Friday (October 3rd), the competitive action gets underway on Saturday morning with the first of six selective sections (276km) between Erfoud and Damia.
A second shorter 211km competitive section runs between Erfoud and Merzane on Sunday and teams face a longer third 314km stage between Erfoud and Zagora on Monday. After an overnight halt in Zagora, the fourth selective passes through the Moroccan sahel to a finish after 225km in Cheggaga.
The fifth and penultimate competitive stint heads from Zagora to Marrakech and includes 302km of competition before a short, final section of 113km around Marrakech on Thursday, October 9th precedes the finish celebrations in the Moroccan city. In a total route of approximately 1,442km, there will be around 520km of competition.