The Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race is the jewel in the crown of the Donaldson South African Cross Country Championship and it’s a jewel Castrol Team Toyota intends holding on to after winning the event in 2012 en route to claiming the drivers’, co-drivers’ and manufacturer’s off road racing championships.
The reigning Toyota Desert Race and SA champions are taking the responsibility and pressure of competing in their own event very seriously, to the extent that they have entered three Castrol Toyota Hilux 4x4s in the premier SP class.
Duncan Vos and Rob Howie, who won the event and the championship last year, will be looking to repeat the feat. Vos is chasing his fifth Toyota Desert Race victory and needs a good result in Botswana to improve his and Howie’s current fourth place in the championship after the first three rounds.
Anthony Taylor and Dennis Murphy are fresh off a win in the previous round, the Toyota Dealer Sugarbelt 400 in KwaZulu-Natal in May, which took them to second place in the championship. Taylor, who finished second behind Vos in last year’s Toyota Desert Race and in the championship, will be seeking his and Murphy’s first Botswana victory.
Leeroy Poulter and Elvéne Coetzee will swop their Castrol Team Toyota rally Yaris for a Castrol Hilux 4x4 in their first appearance in the Donaldson Cross Country Championship. Poulter spent a season in the national off road championship in 2009 before starting his successful rally career in 2010. Coetzee, who will be making her off road racing debut, will be following in the footsteps of her father Kassie, who won the Toyota Desert Race in 1992 and 1993 in a Castrol Toyota Hilux.
“The Toyota Desert Race is the toughest challenge of its kind in southern Africa and it’s the round of the national championship we all want to win,” said team principal Glyn Hall. “For Castrol Team Toyota it’s particularly important because it’s sponsored by Toyota, for the past 32 years. This brings with it a certain amount of extra pressure for the team, so we have prepared accordingly.
“By chance a racing Hilux we built for a customer in Venezuela is currently in our Kyalami workshop for a rebuild. The customer kindly allowed us to use it and this has given us the opportunity to strengthen our team and mount a particularly strong, three-car challenge in the flagship event of the national championship.
“Leeroy and Elvéne will also be testing some things that we might be incorporating in our cars for the 2014 Dakar Rally in South America in January. They have shown great speed in the rally car, but this will be a very different experience. It should be exciting to watch.”
Race headquarters, the start/finish and the designated service park will again be located in the village of Kumakwane, 25 kilometres north-west of Gaborone. The weekend’s action gets underway at 13.00 on Friday (June 21) with a 60-kilometre qualifying race to determine the start order for Saturday (June 22). Day two will start at 08:30 on Saturday with surviving competitors returning to the Kumakwane service park for the overnight halt after completing a 490-kilometre route..
The restart will be at 08:30 on Sunday (June 23) and the race will finish back at Kumakwane in the afternoon after an additional 440-kilometres.
For those of you making the trip to Botswana, below please find the spectator map which you can download by cliking on it.
Toyota Motorsport South Africa Acknowledges Its Sponsors and Specialist Official Supplier and Technical Partners
Toyota enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with Castrol, Toyota Financial Services,Imperial Toyota Group, Innovation Group, Bosch, DeWalt, Donaldson, Edgecam, Ferodo, NGK, SKF and Spanjaard.