It’s quite sad that the Dakar Rally doesn’t get as much media coverage as Formula 1. In many ways, this event is a far more formidable challenge for both man and machine. A long-distance rally raid has variables such as terrain and weather. Additionally, production-car parts really do get used in a lot of Dakar Rally vehicles, so it is a far better proof of motorsport experience trickling down to consumer products.
In this year’s Dakar Rally, Toyota emerged victorious with the GR DKR Hilux T1+. Having conquered anything from the North Pole to (unfortunately) warzones in the Middle East, one might probably think that the rally raid might just be a walk in the park for the truck which, in essence, is a vastly different animal from the Hilux pickups that we can buy. But the GR DKR Hilux T1+ does come with various unknowns in technology including its twin-turbo V6 engine—the same one used by the Land Cruiser 300.
The Dakar victory is symbolic for the driver of the winning car, Nasser Al-Attiyah. The Qatari has won the event several times previously on behalf of a variety of manufacturers including Toyota. Al-Attiyah has been very vocal about his desire to win the Dakar Rally ever since it was held in Saudi Arabia back in 2020—essentially close to his home country. He crossed the finished line a mere 27 minutes and 46 seconds ahead of runner-up Sébastien Loeb (yes, that Sébastien Loeb).