Image supplied by Toyota South Africa
The pair, driving for the G Rally Team in a Class T3 OT3, decided to participate in Dakar 2023 at short notice, leaving them with little time to prepare or get to know the car. Despite this, they proved their prowess by overtaking a slower competitor in the 13km-long Prologue, recording the 10th-fastest time in their class in the process.
“It is great to finally have the prologue behind us,”
said Basson after completing the short, sharp section on the edge of the Red Sea.
“We were a little bit cautious, not know how the car would react in terms of body roll, given the flat nature of the prologue track.”
In the end, the #TeamHiluxRallyRaid pairing posted a time of 9min 9sec over the Prologue, 19sec behind the winner, Christina Gutierrez, driving a similar car.
“I’m quite glad that we didn’t make any mistakes, or received any penalties thus far,”
said co-driver Leander Pienaar.
“There’s a lot of pressure, but starting the race with a short prologue has given us the chance to settle in a bit. Tomorrow’s going to be a long day, but I think our starting position following the prologue will be good, and I’m looking forward to getting Dakar 2023 under way.”
The rally shifts to high gear tomorrow, with the opening stage of 367km, which starts and ends near the Sea Camp – Dakar’s XXL bivouc, which has served as the home for the rally during the build-up to the start. Liaisons (normal road sections) totalling 234km will connect the start to the camp, bringing the total distance for day to 602km.
“Tomorrow we’ll face our first full stage of the rally, and while I’m excited at the prospect, I’m also somewhat nervous to take on the world’s toughest rally,”