January 5, 2018: South African Airways Cargo (SAA Cargo) has been announced as the air freight partner of the Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Team for the 2018 Dakar Rally. The rally will is scheduled from 6 to 20 January in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. The race is often billed as one of the toughest motorsport events in the world. It is viewed as a test of team endurance and vehicle durability.
According to a press release from the airline says that the partnership has been in place since 2012 and involves transportation of the racing vehicles to Sao Paulo, Brazil, en route to Lima, Peru, for the start. The shipment consists of three vehicles and spares, weighing about 7 941 kilogrammes.
It takes about 16 hours for the shipment to reach its destination with 11 hours spent on the aircraft. “Our partnership remains key to us as the airfreight division of the national carrier. We get the opportunity to showcase SAA Cargo’s operational capability on a world stage. There is about two months’ preparation before the vehicles are transported to ensure that the vehicles get there without any hassles. Our priority is the needs of the client as without them we do not have a business. All of this is achieved through team effort and hard work,” said Tleli Makhetha, SAA Cargo’s General Manager.
Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall said, “In motor racing, development of the race vehicle is critical. Development takes time, and our partnership with SAA Cargo means that we don’t have to rely on sea freight to send our cars to South America. This gives us a significant advantage in our development strategy.”
The 40th edition of the Dakar Rally will start in Lima, Peru, proceed to La Paz, Bolivia, and end in Cordoba, Argentina, on January 20, 2018. The event takes place over a period of 15 days and 14 racing stages; and the 450 cars, trucks, motorcycles, and quads will cover a total distance of some 9 500 kilometres of which 5 000 are against the clock.
“The team has over the years continued to impress by achieving Top Five finishes in every Dakar they have entered. We have no doubt that they will do us proud in their endeavour to achieve great results,” added Makhetha.
Toyota Gazoo Racing SA team will be represented by veteran driver Giniel de Villiers and navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz, driver Nasser Al Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel, and newcomers to the team, driver Bernard ten Brinke and navigator Michel Périn.