“To us, taking part in Morocco, offers the opportunity to test our race vehicles in conditions that are similar to some parts of the Dakar, so it is a chance to see how our vehicles fare in actual race conditions, which mimic - to a certain degree - the terrain of the Dakar,” explained Glyn Hall, Toyota SA Dakar team’s principal.
The Rally of Morocco forms part of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA’s) Cross Country World Cup, and as such, many of the players that will be lining up at the start of Dakar 2016 will be taking part. While several teams see this event as a real-world test for Dakar, it does offer a chance to see how the different cars perform in relation to one another.
“We’ll be taking part with two vehicles this year,” continued Hall. “Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz ran one of our Toyota Hilux race vehicles here last year, and showed exceptional pace at the time. This year, we’ve decided to give Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie the opportunity to take part, too, though they will be driving an older spec vehicle, mainly in order to gain experience of the race,” he enthused.
With that said, the team will also be testing a variety of components and suspension settings in Morocco. The event starts on Saturday, 5th October 2015, with a 330-kilometre stage near the Moroccan city of Zagora. This is followed by:
Stage 2 – 6th Oct: 224 kilometres, Loop of Drâa
Stage 3 – 7th Oct: 274 kilometres, Loop of M’hamid
Stage 4 – 8th Oct: 293 kilometres, Zagor-Agadir
Stage 5 – 9th Oct: 237 kilometres, Loop of Agadir.
Development and testing will continue back in South Africa, when the team returns on the 11th October. “After that, we’ll have one more big test session in South Africa before shipping the cars off to South America for the race,” concluded Hall.