NAZCA, PERU – Toyo Tires equipped vehicles are scoring immediate victories in the world’s toughest endurance race, the 2013 Dakar rally. As of today’s Stage 3, Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires have won Stages 1 – 3 thanks to Team Qatar Red Bull, while also finishing third in Stage 1 and second in Stage 3 for a total of five podiums. This year’s Dakar rally runs January 5 – 20 and is nearly 5,000 miles in length. The route runs southward from Lima, Peru to Santiago, Chile.
During the short 13km Stage 1 from Lima to Pisco in Peru, Carlos Sainz of Spain won the stage with his #303 Team Qatar Red Bull buggy. Team owner, Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar, piloted his #300 Team Qatar Red Bull buggy to a third place finish. Both cars were built in California and feature American V8 horsepower driving 37×13.50R17 Open Country M/T-R tires.
Also competing on Open Country M/T-R tires are American Robby Gordon, and Eric Vigouroux of France. Gordon led the 2012 Dakar and was a favorite to win overall, capturing three stage wins with a total of seven podiums. During Stage 1 of the 2013 race, his #315 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires / MAPEI HUMMER was challenged with a transmission issue which cost valuable time. Vigouroux’s #319 Herock® / Toyo Tires Chevrolet® Silverado® suffered a damaged throttle cable early on which also slowed his pace for the start of the rally. Vigouroux has Dakar-winning potential as he beat last year’s Dakar-winning MINI’s when he won overall in the 2012 Rally of Morocco.
Stage 2 of the 2013 Dakar was a long 242km loop through the sand dunes which began and ended in the Pacific Coast town of Pisco. Navigational dramas unfolded for many of the teams. Race leader Carlos Sainz experienced a problem with the official race GPS system when it failed to record a GPS waypoint that he correctly passed. Sainz was forced to double back and re-cross the waypoint in hopes it would eventually register. At the end, the X-Raid MINI of Stéphan Peterhansel was initially awarded the win until Sainz stated his case with the ASO officials. As a result, Sainz was ultimately awarded the win 3-minutes 23-seconds ahead of Peterhansel. One notable achievement during Stage 2 was the fierce charge by Robby Gordon, passing most of the field of competitors to finish 13th for the day.
Today’s 243km Stage 3 from Pisco to Nazca once again saw a Team Qatar Red Bull car winning, this time Nasser Al-Attiyah. Carlos Sainz experienced a wiring problem early on, causing his engine to misfire, resulting in a fifth place finish. Robby Gordon continued his charge from the 13th starting position for a second place finish in Stage 3.
“Toyo Tires is excited to be so dominant early on in the 2013 Dakar,” said Amy Coleman, senior director of marketing, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. “While it is a long way to the finish in Chile, we have four world class competitors relying on our Open Country M/T-R tires to get them to the overall podium. Toyo Tires wishes them all the very best.”
During the 2013 Dakar, Toyo Tires has three ways to follow the action. Check out the Toyo Tires Dakar Rally blog for updated photos and videos. You can also follow Facebook and Twitter for daily highlights. For a chance to win daily swag, be sure to enter the 15 Days of Dakar Sweepstakes at www.facebook.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.