After taking the honours at this year’s gruelling Dakar Rally, there is no denying the toughness of the Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa Hilux.
But there are times when even a Toyota Hilux needs a helping hand in the form of a Land Cruiser.
For this exercise, there is probably nothing more suitable than a Toyota Land Cruiser, as Giniel de Villiers found out last Saturday at the Mpumalanga 400, the opening race of the 2022 South African Rally-Raid Championship.
Leading the race with only a handful of kilometers left to the finish line in Dullstroom, De Villiers and navigator Dennis Murphy’s Hilux got stuck in a deep pool of mud.
While the precious time they lost robbed them of a victory, the excited local spectators leapt at the chance to help De Villiers back into the race.
Two Toyota Land Cruiser 79 double cabs teamed up in treacherous slippery conditions on a narrow muddy track to pull the Hilux from the sticky pool of mud.
One utilised its winch to drag the racing bakkie, while the other pulled it with a rope to keep it stable.
As long as it does not give competitors an unfair advantage, outside assistance is permitted during the race.
In fact, it is often required to get rally cars unstuck from obstacles or back on their wheels in order to continue the race.
De Villiers and Murphy were able to eventually finish in seventh place, with 2021 champion and team-mate Henk Lategan and Brett Cummings winning the race.
Over the course of the last seven decades, the Toyota Land Cruiser has earned its reputation as the ‘Master of Africa’.
While the Land Cruiser 300 is offered as the nomenclature’s prime product, the 70 Series is still as popular as ever – despite the design being almost 40 years old.
It is offered in three derivatives: the 76 wagon, 78 station wagon and 79 single cab and double cab.
In top spec, the Cruiser 70’s 4.5-litre V8 turbodiesel engine produces 151 kW of power and 430 Nm of torque.
For more information on the Toyota Land Cruiser, click here.