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Both cars make a solid finish in the prologue run
Everything is lined up for the start of the real competition

Issue #1:January 7, 2024

On January 5, a 27km prologue run was held for the 2024 Dakar Rally near AlUla, a town in northwestern Saudi Arabia.
After successfully completing the prologue, the two TLC Land Cruisers took to the starting podium set up in the bivouac, and everything was lined up for the start of the real competition on January 6.

As in the previous rally, ASO, the organizer of the Dakar Rally, set up a huge bivouac known as the Start Camp in AlUla, which accommodates vehicle inspections, paperwork, and serves as venue for the Start Ceremony. As for TLC, we have been conducting test runs, inspections, and final adjustments there since New Year's Day.

On January 4, the team passed vehicle inspections and personnel paperwork without any issues.
The team members received encouragement from Katsuhiro Matsuo, President of Toyota Auto Body, and Manabu Uezono, Plant Manager of the Yoshiwara Plant, who are at the venue to watch the event. The team are focusing their efforts on achieving their 11th consecutive victory in the production car category (newly renamed to the Stock category) with the Land Cruiser 300 cars.

The prologue is a short competition section used to determine starting positions for competitors in the first stage. This time, a 27km loop course was set up on hilly terrain 71km north of AlUla. In this year’s rally there are 142 vehicles in the Bike category (including 10 quads – the Bike category now includes quads due to a classification change), 70 vehicles in the Modified category (newly renamed to Ultimate), 3 vehicles in the Stock category, 42 vehicles in the Lightweight Prototype category (newly renamed to Challenger), 36 vehicles in the Lightweight Production category (newly renamed to SSV) and 47 vehicles in the Truck category; a total of 340 vehicles that have passed inspections for the rally.

All road surfaces were sandy. Among the twisting ascents and descents, sand dunes also made an appearance. The course was typical of northern Saudi Arabia, with many sharp rocks that can puncture tires. Despite this being a short stage to warm the teams up, any accidents or problems would affect the competition from the next day. TLC continued to drive carefully, and Car #500 with Akira Miura (Toyota Auto Body staff) and Mayeul Barbet finished 154th overall and 1st in the Stock category (Production Car category) out of 198 4-wheeled vehicles including trucks, and Car #501 with Ronald Basso and Jean-Michel Polato successfully finished 163rd overall and 2nd in the Stock category.
The order of the prologue results is the order in which the cars start in the first stage, but the time required is not added to the cumulative time (accumulated time required for each stage).

After returning to the bivouac, the two crews shook hands firmly with President Matsuo and Plant Manager Uezono on the starting podium and pledged once again to do their best in the rally.
The first stage on January 6 is set to cover 405km between AlUla and Al Henakiyah.

Miura (driver): It was a short stage of less than 30km, but I was able to drive calmly and had a good start. I am grateful to have made it to the podium and to have been able to start the rally again this year, but I also have a renewed feeling that we must respond through our results.

Basso (driver): Due to the late starting order, the track surface was a little difficult to drive on as there were many ditches. Compared to last time, I have a better understanding of the Land Cruiser 300, and I believe we will be able to achieve good results.