All hail the Hilux!
The 2022 edition of the world-famous Dakar Rally has come to a close, and for those in the Audi camp, this year's running of the event has been a mixed bag. There were some highs and a number of crushing lows, but on balance, the German automaker did well with its first-ever outing of the RS Q e-tron. Over at Toyota Gazoo Racing, however, the grueling rally seemed like a walk in the park, with Nasser Al-Attiyah and his co-driver Mathieu Baumel winning the event overall by 27 minutes and 46 seconds. Even more impressive is that this was the first time that the GR DKR Hilux T1 competed here.
The new Hilux pickup (a race vehicle loosely based on the Toyota Tundra's little brother that battles the midsize Ford Ranger) now has larger wheels and tires, along with more suspension travel and a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine, the same one that powers the new Land Cruiser GR Sport. In that vehicle, the engine generates 409 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, although we suspect that the competition version used here may have different performance ratings.
Along with an overall win, another Gazoo Racing team consisting of Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings also achieved a remarkable feat by winning the closing stage of the rally by 49 seconds, despite having to stop for a tire puncture mid-stage.
The Hilux wasn't the only big winner for Toyota Gazoo Racing either, as its Land Cruiser 200 managed a one-two finish and has now achieved nine consecutive victories in the commercial vehicle category.
It's no wonder, then, that these off-roaders are always in such high demand, but it was not a perfect event for the team as a whole, with Hino Motors (Toyota's truck brand) sadly failing to add to its championship tally.
Company president and CEO Akio Toyoda expressed his elation at the results achieved by the teams.
"A car is an aggregation of many parts. Each part can significantly alter the performance, the feel, and the drive. In races and rallies, many participants build their cars to pursue a single goal, better their vehicles and develop the technologies along the way," he said.
"Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Group companies will continue making ever better cars through their motorsports activities. At the beginning of this year, I am more confident in this than ever. Thank you very much to all the friends who finished the 2022 Dakar Rally. Thanks, guys!"