etting in some valuable practice for January’s Dakar Rally in South America, Terranova and Cruz competed in the Belgian Overdrive team’s South African-made Toyota Hilux double cab pickup, the first customer Hilux built by Glyn Hall and his team and delivered just two weeks ago.
Terranova scored his first stage win in the big sand dunes of Chegaga, bringing the Overdrive Toyota Hilux home first, 7 min 07 sec ahead of Chile’s Boris Garafulic and French co-driver Gilles Picard in a BMW X. Third was the Portuguese team of Ricardo Leal Dos Santos and Paulo Fuiza in a Mini. Rally leaders Bernhard Ten Brinke of the Netherlands and French co-driver Mathieu Baumel were sixth in a Mitsubishi Lancer, over 16 minutes in arrears.
Their achievement was all the more remarkable because they rolled the Hilux on Monday’s 297-km opening stage after hitting a ditch while running near the front of the field. They managed to reach the overnight stop, but not before incurring a 10-hour penalty, which effectively ruled them out of winning the race.
After Wednesday’s 338-km stage three, in which they finished 30th overall, they are now 23rd overall behind leaders Ten Brinke and Baumel. Ten Brinke won stages one and three and was sixth in stage two
“We’re very excited about Orlando’s stage win on Tuesday,” said Glyn Hall. “It’s a great achievement for the Overdrive team in the Toyota’s first-ever appearance in an international event and, of course, we at Toyota Motorsport are very proud of our South African export.
“One of our engineers, Michael Jardim, is on the event and keeping an eye on things. We’re getting very positive feedback on the vehicle from Overdrive. All systems seem to be working well and we’re gathering important development data for our own two pickups which will be competing in the Dakar Rally in January.”
Toyota Motorsport, with backing from Imperial Toyota, Duxbury Netgear and the Innovation Group, has entered two Hilux double cab pickups in the 2012 Dakar Rally, which takes place in Argentina, Chile and Peru from 1 - 15 January.
Currently contesting the Absa South African Off Road Championship in the hands of four-times national champion Duncan Vos and former circuit racing champion Anthony Taylor, they will be driven in the Dakar by former South African champion and 2009 Dakar Rally winner Giniel de Villiers and Vos.
A fourth proudly South African Hilux will be in the hands of Argentine privateer Lucio Alvarez.