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Land Cruiser 300 rally cars complete Dakar Rally 2024
One-two finish for 11th consecutive victory in Production Car category

Issue #14:January 20, 2024

On January 19, the final stage of the 2024 Dakar Rally was held on a 174 km loop course SS (competition section) from Yanbu in Saudi Arabia. After the loop course, cars travelled on a 99 km liaison (transfer section) to the bivouac in Yanbu and finished. At this same location, the Goal Ceremony was held, bringing the 15-day rally to an end.

The SS on the final day mainly consisted of ruts on sandy terrain with trial-like sections where stones lay hidden in the sand, so careful driving was required. A coastal run had been set up for the end of the stage, and although it was a short-distance section, it posed accident and puncture risks. TLC competed in the Stock (Production Car) category with two Land Cruiser 300 GR SPORT (diesel engine) rally cars. Akira Miura and Mayeul Barbet in Car #500 reached the finish 118th overall in the Cars category and 1st in the Stock (Production Car) category. Ronald Basso and Jean-Michel Polato in Car #501 reached the finish 120th overall and 2nd in the category. With these results, the cumulative rankings for Car #500 are 81st overall and a victory in the Stock (Production Car) category. Car #501 ranked 109th overall and achieved a 2nd place finish in the category. TLC has achieved an unprecedented 11th consecutive victory in their category with a one-two finish.

The Goal Ceremony was held on a podium set up on the coast in Yanbu, where TLC took the podium at approximately 6 pm. The drivers and navigators shook hands with supporters from Japan including Toyota Auto Body Director Operating Officer Takeshi Kimura and Team Representative Atsushi Honda, and the efforts of the entire team over the last 15 days were applauded.

In recent years, the Dakar Rally has been set up to suit the large number of vehicles that participate in the modified and lightweight SSV classes, resulting in courses that are challenging to drive on for rally cars that are based on production vehicles. A new stage, “THE 48H CHRONO STAGE”, was introduced in this rally, where participants must drive for two consecutive days to clear one stage, added to the challenge. The Land Cruiser 300 made its debut in the previous Dakar Rally and demonstrated its high driving performance, but there were some issues due to the challenges associated with its speed. In this year’s rally, TLC implemented countermeasures to address areas such as the engine air intake system and rear suspension. The tires were also improved, enhancing durability and driving performance. And, thanks to the meticulous maintenance work of the mechanics each day, Car #500 was able to clear all stages without stopping even once due to car trouble. TLC won their 11th consecutive victory in the Stock (Production Car) category in a one-two finish, with Car #501 following in 2nd place; a remarkable achievement that adds to the already impressive record of the team.

Miura (driver): As far as I’m aware, this was the hardest Dakar Rally to date. Our ability to clear it inspires confidence. and I can feel our evolution. Until now, Laurent, who passed away last year, had always helped me; I want him to tell him that we had a solid run this year.

Basso (driver): I’m so happy to be driving with TLC in this Dakar Rally. The route was harder than anything we’ve seen, and it’s a pity that we had to retire for the day, but this was an excellent Dakar Rally for me.