Toyota HiLux has demonstrated its strength by taking a third stage victory in the 40th Dakar rally, the world’s toughest motorsport event.
Toyota GAZOO Racing SA driver Bernhard ten Brinke and navigator Michel Perin dominated the stage to win by 4m 35s ahead of a trio of works buggies.
Ten Brinke led virtually throughout the four-hour 280km 11th stage from Belén to Fiambalá in Argentina.
“It is a fantastic feeling to win one of the toughest stages on the Dakar, and I’m extremely pleased with the way Michel and I are working together in the car,” he said.
Teammates Nasser Al Attiyah and Giniel de Villiers finished fifth and sixth, maintaining the HiLux team’s top-three stranglehold in the 4×4 class for naturally aspirated petrol vehicles.
Al Attiyah, ten Brinke and de Villiers are third, fourth and fifth outright, with three stages of the 15-day event remaining.
Al Attiyah, a two-time Dakar winner from Qatar, won the first and third stages of this year’s event on the sand dunes and dirt tracks of Peru.
Ten Brinke’s victory was his second Dakar stage win, the first coming in the opening stage of the 2016 rally. He did not compete in last year’s Dakar.
The Dutchman has been in top form this year, finishing in the top 10 in all of the completed stages.
Dakar 2018, which covers more than 4,500km of competition through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, ends on January 20 in Cordoba, Argentina.