Toyota Hilux on the podium in 2012 Dakar rally

Toyota Hilux on the podium in 2012 Dakar rally
Toyota HiLux has completed a dream run in the world’s toughest off-road race, achieving a podium finish in the 2012 Dakar rally.

The double-cab petrol HiLux clinched third spot in the gruelling endurance event after two weeks of competition in the wilds of Argentina, Chile and Peru.

Dakar is the ultimate endurance test with this year’s rally covering 8,300km, including 4,200km of special competitive stages through some of the toughest terrain in the world.

The Toyota Motorsport HiLux was prepared by the Imperial Toyota team and piloted by South African Giniel De Villiers and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz.

Toyota HiLux also finished in outright sixth and 11th place.

In the T2 production class, Toyota dominated with seven of the top eight finishers, including class victory for Spaniard Javier Foj in a Toyota LandCruiser.

Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Matthew Callachor said the result confirmed the reputation of Toyota and HiLux for rugged, dependable vehicles that thrived in the toughest conditions.

“Just to finish the Dakar is an achievement, so to have three HiLuxes in the top 11 placings is remarkable in an event renowned for breaking vehicles,” Mr Callachor said.

“Success at Dakar demonstrates why Toyota HiLux has a well-deserved reputation for being ‘unbreakable’,” he said.

Competing in the 33rd Dakar were 465 drivers and riders with 171 cars, 185 motorcycles, 76 trucks and 33 quads.

The world’s longest and toughest motor race consists of 14 special stages cover 4,200km of rugged terrain that includes river crossings, narrow mountain tracks, spectacular canyons, dry river beds and sand dunes.

It includes a high-altitude crossing of the Andes from Argentina into Chile at 4,700 metres above sea level and temperatures as high as 45 degrees Centigrade in the dry and arid Atacama Desert in Chile.

The competition stages are linked by 4,100km on normal roads.