The Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa team completed another milestone on their march to Dakar 2016, when all three official Toyota Hilux race vehicles were shipped to South America on Tuesday December 8th.
“We always sigh a big sigh of relief when the cars are on their way,” explained Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall, after seeing the doors close on the three air freight containers containing the precious cargo. “So many things have to be completed in time, and the margins for error are razor thin at this point.”
The team’s preparations went without any hitches, however, and they can now look forward to a couple of weeks of rest, before departing for Argentina on December 27th. Once in South America, the team and cars will be reunited at a facility near the Argentine city of Campama, where the vehicles will be reassembled, and the rest of the equipment and spare parts packed into the support trucks for the race.
“Taking part in the Dakar is a truly massive undertaking,” continued Hall. “The sheer number of spare parts and specialist equipment that need to be numbered, packed, shipped and unpacked on the other side is mind-boggling. To make things even more challenging, we shipped a portion of our parts by sea, with the rest following by air. This makes it even harder to coordinate things once we get to South America.”
As a matter of fact, the team employs a dedicated logistics manager to ensure the smooth running of the operation. Knowing where each and every part is at any given moment requires highly detailed planning, and the team relies heavily on the logistics manager to streamline the process.
The 2016 Dakar sees the introduction of a third factory entry, in the form of Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi and German navigator Timo Gottschalk. The pair will be lining up alongside South African veteran and former winner of the event, Giniel de Villiers and his long-serving German navigator, Dirk von Zitzewitz. Newly crowned South African Cross-Country champions, Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie, will also be returning for their third consecutive Dakar together.
The three-car team requires the shipping of 4.2 tons of airfreight, plus an addition 6.8 tons by sea. The vehicles themselves weigh in at 6.4 tons, bringing the total weight of equipment to be moved to South America to 17.4 tons.
“All three cars will be reassembled in Argentina after we arrive on the 27th of December,” concluded Hall. “After that, we’ll give them a thorough shakedown before heading back to Buenos Aires for the start of the race.”
This edition of the Dakar Rally will see competitors start in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires on January 2nd, 2016. The route then travels northwards through Argentina and into Bolivia, before heading back to the Argentine city of Rosario, for the finish on January 16th, 2016.