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End of the first half in a one-two formation in the Stock category
Rest Day in Riyadh and getting ready for the second half

Issue #8:January 15, 2024

For the Dakar Rally 2024, it is Rest Day on January 13 in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. After a two-day run over complex sand dunes and completing “THE 48H CHRONO STAGE,” TLC traveled 853 km from Shubaytah to Riyadh. Car #500 with Akira Miura and Mayeul Barbet departed last night and arrived at the bivouac at around 5 am on the 13th. Car #501 with Ronald Basso and Jean-Michel Polato reached the SS finish line on the morning of the 13th with no car trouble, and they reached the bivouac in Riyadh at about 5:30 pm where mechanics were waiting for their arrival.

There will be no competition on Rest Day, and mechanics will replace consumable parts on the cars and perform careful inspections in preparation for the second half of the rally. Due to Car #501’s delayed arrival in Riyadh, the assigned mechanics for #501 were able to help with inspections and maintenance on Car #500, so the work finished quickly. When Car #501 arrived, the entire team of mechanics were able to start working on the car.

After the first half of the rally, Car #500 car with Akira Miura (Toyota Auto Body staff) and Mayeul Barbet ranked 86th overall in the Car category and 1st in the Stock (Production Car) category, while Car #501 with Ronald Basso and Jean-Michel Polato was 132nd overall and 2nd in the category. Thorough countermeasures were implemented for the TLC Land Cruiser cars to address issues experienced in the previous rally. Thanks to this and the improved matching of suspension and tires (which faced many punctures last time) the number of car problems and punctures have significantly decreased compared to the previous rally, despite the stages being continuously tougher this year. The team remains focused as they head into the second half of the rally starting on the 14th, aiming for an unprecedented 11th consecutive victory in the Stock (Production Car) category.

The stage on the first day of the second half of the rally takes teams from Riyadh to Al Duwadimi. From Riyadh, a 483 km SS (competition section) will be held to the west. The liaison is also long, with a total distance of 873 km, the longest of the tournament.

Team Manager Kakutani: After completing the difficult “48H CHRONO STAGE,” both cars have been able to run without causing excessive damage to the car body. We would like to keep this momentum, but the course is quite tough this year, and we expect it to continue in the second half of the rally. We will get through as a team and move forward step by step towards our goal.

Chief Mechanic Philippe Challoy: Car #501 arrived late today, but we were able to get all the planned work done thanks to the teamwork of our mechanics. We had some troubles in the first half of the rally, but we want to keep going until the end.