CYPRESS, CALIFORNIA – Toyo Tires and Robby Gordon are teaming up once again to take on the legendary Dakar Rally in January. Gordon will drive his #315 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / MAPEI HUMMER with assistance from veteran navigator Kellon Walch. Running January 5 – 20, the 2013 Dakar rally is nearly 5,000 miles in length and will start in Lima, Peru; and then run south through the South American continent to the finish in Santiago, Chile.
Each year Dakar organizers challenge entrants with unique routes. Run primarily off the road, the terrain can vary from coastal sand dunes to rock-strewn mountains and dense forests. Competitors and their equipment can face the challenges of running in the desert heat or the extreme cold while crossing high-elevation passes. Along the way, vehicles may be forced to travel at a slow crawl or hit speeds soaring well over 100-mph. Since 2007, Gordon has relied on Toyo® Open Country M/T®-R tires to help conquer this world famous off-road rally.
”I’m excited to go back to the Dakar Rally with Toyo Tires. We easily had the fastest cars last year and Toyo Tires made it possible for us to run well throughout the stages,” said Gordon. “With the tire improvements that they have continually made with our off-road program I know we will be better this year and I feel from the mistakes and problems that we had in last year’s Rally, we’ll be able to capitalize on our learning curve and be a fierce competitor showing up to the 2013 edition of the toughest race in the world.”
Since joining Team Toyo® in 2006, Gordon has delivered multiple podiums, wins and championships for the Toyo Tires® brand. Accomplishments during that time include:
– Overall Winner of the 2006 Baja 1000
– Winner of Stage 6 in the 2007 Dakar
– Third Overall Finisher in the 2009 Dakar and only 2WD vehicle in the top 10
– 2009 SCORE Overall Point Champion and SCORE Trophy-Truck Champion
– Winner of Stage 4 in the 2010 Dakar
– Lead the 2012 Dakar, capturing three stage wins and a total of seven podiums (while teammate Nasser Al-Attiyah won two stages.)
– 2012 Best In The Desert Series Class 1500 Champion and Best In The Desert Grand Champion.
Robby Gordon’s 2012 Best In The Desert Championship is the third off-road championship for Toyo Tires and Team Toyo this year. In October Kyle LeDuc won the Lucas Oil® Off Road Racing Series Pro 4 Unlimited Class Championship and last week, BJ Baldwin was declared the 2012 SCORE Overall Points Champion.
“This has been an incredible year for Team Toyo with three off-road championships,” said Amy Coleman, senior director of marketing, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. “Robby Gordon and Toyo Tires have proven we have what it takes to lead the toughest off-road race in the world and that is exactly what we intend to do next month at the Dakar.”
The upcoming Dakar will feature more top competitors racing on the Toyo Open Country M/T-R than ever before. Toyo Tires is also the tire of choice for Team Qatar Red Bull® led by former Dakar champions Nasser Al-Attiyah and Carlos Sainz in specially built 2WD buggies. Eric Vigouroux of France and his #319 Chevrolet® Silverado® truck will also rely on Toyo Tires. Vigouroux was the overall winner in the 2012 Rally of Morocco and 2010 FIA World Cup winner in the 2 Wheel Drive (WD) category.
Toyo Tires will share updates, photos and videos of the 2013 Dakar on www.toyotires.com, www.facebook.com/toyotires and www.twitter.com/toyotires. Daily highlights from each stage can be viewed on the NBC Sports Network (DIRECTV Channel 220 / Dish Network Channel 159 / AT&T U-Verse Channel 1640 / Verizon FiOS Channel 590) January 5th – the 20th. Check your local listings for times & schedules on the NBC Sports Network.