Thomas Rundle and Juan Mohr will compete privately in the 2014 Dakar Rally in South America in January in the same Toyota Hilux in which Duncan Vos and Rob Howie finished 10th in the 2012 Dakar Rally and which took the Toyota Motorsport pair to victory in the 2012 national off road championship.
It will be their first attempt at the world’s longest and toughest motor race and the realisation of a long-held dream for both experienced off roaders. The pair earned a free entry, valued at around R400 000, after they won the Dakar Challenge that formed part of the Toyota Botswana 1000 Desert Race in June, where they finished sixth overall..
“The Dakar Rally is the ultimate challenge for an off road racer and it has always been my dream to compete in it,” said Rundle. The 30-year-old group manager of the family-owned BARDEN company in Pretoria started his off road racing career in 2004 in a Toyota Hilux and is delighted to be back in a Hilux.
“I have worked closely with Glyn Hall during my off road racing career and have received tremendous help and encouragement from him and his team. We concluded a deal for me to take over Duncan’s Hilux at the end of the current season in Gauteng in November.
“While we will be genuine privateers with our own back-up team and support vehicles, our Hilux will be prepared for us by Toyota Motorsport and shipped to Argentina in December along with the two factory Hilux V8s.
“Juan and I have formed an excellent racing relationship over the past few years and, with his previous experience of the Dakar and the Dakar-proven Toyota Hilux, we are quietly confident we can do ourselves and our country proud.”
Mohr is equally excited about competing in the Dakar. The 36-year-old project manager at Century Property Developments, who was the 2008 national off road co-driver champion, commented, “To compete in the Dakar alongside Thomas will be the highlight of my racing career.”
Rundle has spent time in the Namib Desert near Walvis Bay under the tuition of desert driving expert Don Nieuwoudt of West Coast 4x4 and also accompanied Toyota Motorsport to the Namibian dunes for more experience.
Their Dakar preparation programme also includes attending the High Performance Centre of the University of Pretoria’s Institute for Sports Research for strength and conditioning training and sessions with a dietician, physiotherapist and sports psychologist.
“It’s a marathon 14-day drive through some of the toughest terrain in Argentina and Chile and we need to be in top physical and mental condition,” said Rundle, who added that they were also benefiting from working with Dr Sherylle Calder from Eyegym at the Sports and Science Institute of South Africa in Cape Town.
STORY COURTESY OF PETER PETER BURROUGHES COMMUNICATIONS