2012 Dakar Has Toyota Finishing Third

Dakar Trucks
By John Rettie

Trophy trucks dominate Baja off-road races, but when it comes to the annual Dakar Rally, they play second fiddle to SUVs and Minis. Yes, Minis finished in first and second place this year. A Toyota Hilux pickup finished third, though. 

In reality, there is not much difference between a truck and an SUV (apart from the body) in the fastest crop of vehicles. The Mini is based off a BMW 3 Series that has minimal resemblance to a production version. It would even be fair to describe Robby Gordon’s Hummer as a truck, as it is essentially a trophy truck underneath the bright-orange fiber-glass Hummer shell. If Chevrolet were to sponsor him, it would become a Chevy Silverado!

This year the Dakar Rally covered 5,000 miles, largely in deserts, through Argentina, Chile and Peru. For competitors, it was like competing in a Baja race each day for 14 days. It is quite rightly regarded as one of the toughest auto races in the world. Just to finish is a major accomplishment.

In many ways, Giniel De Villiers’ third-place finish in a Hilux is truly significant. Ever since the Dakar Rally started in 1979, the event has been won by SUVs, cars or buggies. Pickup trucks came close to winning when Nissan South Africa entered the event with top drivers, such as Colin McRae.

Dakar DeVilliers Finishes on Podium
De Villiers won the Dakar in 2009 driving a factory Volkswagen Race Touareg. That year, Dakar moved to Argentina and Chile for the first time after terrorist threats in Africa. After winning Dakar for the third time last year, Volkswagen switched to competing in the World Rally Championship, leaving De Villiers without a ride for Dakar. He turned to Toyota South Africa, and at the last moment, three Hilux pickups — with almost stock V-8 engines — were built for the Dakar race. 

Most top teams need several years to develop a winning car, so De Villiers didn’t expect to win in 2012. Instead, the truck was built to meet new rules for 2013. With less power on tap, he had a slim chance against the X-raid Mini team from Germany. 

Thanks to his consistent driving, De Villiers was battling for second place by the middle of the race. The Minis were firm favorites, and yet they were being challenged by De Villiers.

Gordon ran as high as second overall, but over-exuberant driving cost him time on several stages and despite winning three stages, he finished fifth. De Villiers was much more consistent, and although he did not win any stages, he never finished out of the top 10. The only other driver who did that was Stephane Peterhansel, the winner of the race. The other two Hilux pickups finished fifth and 11th.

Dakar Robby Gordon Hummer
In all, more than 40 “regular” pickup trucks competed among the 161 vehicles in the car class. Half of these were Toyotas. The Argentinean-made Amarok, which was also an official vehicle for the organizers, was the next most popular truck. There were five Nissan Navaras (aka Frontiers) and five Mitsubishi pickups and, amazingly, a couple of Honda Ridgelines. 

There was just one lone American truck, a Ford Raptor. This was the same vehicle that Sue Mead and Darren Skilton raced in last year’s Dakar when they finished 40th overall. Skilton prepared the truck again this year, but it was raced by Pedro de Uriarte from Mexico. He did not finish. 

Skilton, on the other hand, entered his special prototype Revolution VI buggy that’s close to being a pickup, and he persevered, finishing 62nd overall. Among his support crew was Mark McMillin, a veteran Baja competitor who had withdrawn earlier while driving a Jeep. His pit crew in their Ford F-250 happily crewed for Skilton the rest of the way. Aside from the giant “real” trucks that compete in the actual event as well as provide support for race vehicles, full-size Ford pickups are a popular support vehicle. 

Based on Team Toyota’s inaugural success with the Hilux, we might well see a pickup win next year’s Dakar for the first time. For a list of all the "car" category finishers and their times, Download General ranking stage summary car pageDakar DeVilliers Toyota 1

Dakar McMillin F250 Support Truck

Dakar Toyota HiLux 1

Dakar Working in Bivouac


ford craptor no finish frame folded in two like a bunch of wet noodles shame shame

most notible was the amount of Super Duty support trucks. Why no other big truck support?

You don't see any GM heavy duty support pickups because they wouldn't make it to the next rally point. Low hung frame, weak IFS, and busted tierods are not a trait for a winning teams chase vehicle.

The Imperial Toyota team was bulletproof this year!

Aside from the dominant Toyota brand at the Dakar, their was a battle among the full-size pickups and the Toyota Tundra won the best finishing spot over a Dodge Ram 2500 and the Ford Raptor that failed to finish...

The Imperial Toyota Team will be one of the favorites for next years Dakar without a doubt...


Sweet commercial of the team for Toyota:


Nice job Toyota!

But why use a double cab?

I hate family pickups!

Toyota could have finished first if it wasn't a family pickup...

Yeah just think of all the fiberglass weight that could of been saved by a regular cab. 10 lbs would of got 1st place for sure.


What happened with Chevy's Raptor killer? The truth has been REVEALED...

Re: Semi confirmed news on next gen 2014 trucks

Originally Posted by Bvonscott
"Because really, all GM needs to do to make a Raptor killer is put a couple grand in long travel suspension parts on even what they currently sell and you have them beat."

Posted by Ranger 518
"Will not happen. The Raptor killer Chevy prototype did not hold up in off pavement testing and was scrapped a few years ago. You seen the pictures but that is why it never made it to public release. The Raptor killer truck on the GMT900 frame just would not hold up without putting much more money into it that GM did not have at the time."



Talk about a NOODLE FRAME!

The Hilux lost two not one but two Minis?


(scratches head)

You don't see any GM heavy duty support pickups because they wouldn't make it to the next rally point. Low hung frame, weak IFS, and busted tierods are not a trait for a winning teams chase vehicle.

@Jugger... Amen. You read my mind. You'll never see Chevy trucks as a support vehicle. Nobody else uses their HD's for those exact reasons whether it's for construction, snow plowing or what have you. Why on earth would an Off-Road event want Chevy HD's?? You can't even take them off road. It sucks but it's true. I still have a 85 Chevy I'll take off roading but anything new and it's a Ford SD. It looks like Chevy trucks are going into the toilet anyway from what GM has publicly stated so it doesn't much matter these days.

Pfft.. Chevy doesn't sponsor Robby Gordon because Chevy Trucks have exactly Zero off road credibility. Nor have they for over 20 years and They Know This.. Frankly I think the Hummer body sucks too. Those GM imposter Hummers were never the real thing anyway. Just GM faking orgasmic excitement for the American idiots who don't know any better. What a pathetic truck organization they became.

take my chevy off road pretty much every day for work does just fine hell brakes even last longer then the f 1poopies i took off road cause drum brakes handle mud and dirt 20 times better 120,000 on my 09 only change the fronts stock back drums are still on it. the furd brakes was smoked at 80,000 metal to metal GM FTW!!


Imagine that, Robby Gordon over driving killing his chances to win. He does the same thing in NASCAR except he takes out several cars in the mean time............LOL!

The size of the little toyota (301) IMO is perfect. Wish we had a truck with those dimensions in the us.. really big cab and a small bed no longer than a midsize. Just slightly lifted. If the bed opened up into the Cab and the back seats fold flat it would be perfect. Something that can sit 5, tow 5000lb, do 30mpg city and put out 300hp. Yeah.

@Mark Williams good summing up. All the leading vehicles were "Funny Cars" . The Toyota had a highly modified Lexus Petrol V8, instead of the 3 litre diesel. The "Mini" was the BMW X3 with a very highly modified 3 Litre diesel. Robby Gordon's "Hummer'" was a trophy truck with a 6 Litre Chevrolet.
I know the Chinese Great Wall pickup was modified stock(Finishing 7th and 30th), but that "stock" vehicle cannot be sold to the public. Not knowing the fine details about the classes that finished and ran. I know there was an ELECTRIC Pickup in the cars class and te Landcruisers are pretty close to stock.

@Southern IL Man From CART, NASCAR to Dakar he has rubbed people up the wrong way. He was described as "truculent" in one report before the Rally started. Robby Gordon has never been consistent and patient.

@Mark Williams the Frontier does differ considerably from rthe Navara.

I would be interested in why the Raptor didn't finish. Driver error or equipment failure?
Equipment failure do to driver error? Big rocks win every time!
Does anyone know?

@Southern IL Man could not find much on the official site but the third stage was his last.

@Mark Williams -
you forgot to mention the Ram Cummins HD that finished the race.
What about the Tundra that was in the Race?
Did it finish?
There were 3 full sized NA only trucks - the Raptor, 1 Ram Cummins, and 1 Tundra.


--Highest USA content pickup
--Fullsize king of Dakar--the toughest off-road test in the world!

This is where small pickups belong, off the pavement. This is where light weight pickups can shine despite making little more pulling power than my mower. Those full-size tanks have too much trailer handling weight and too much low end power rather than red-line screaming power to win in an off-road race. I bet if a stock 4 cyl Tacoma tried to tow 45,000 lbs it would fail miserably. Why just the other day my neighbor tried to tow his double wide house trailer with a 4 cyl ranger. He lost control going over the Mississippi river and flew off into it! He sank to the bottom and then called me from down there to come get him. So I fired up the ole 92 1/2 ton ----- and drove down to get him. Put on the SCUBA gear, went down and hooked up to his bumper and pulled him and the trailer out. Low and behold, it wasnt my neighbor but oxi and his band of cohorts, including but not limited to Dave Mathews, Spock, The Rock, Dr. Ock, Akio Toyoda, and Kirt Russell dressed as Snake Pliskin from Escape from New York. They beat the hell out of me and threw me back into the negative zone...

@johnny doe - are you serious? drum brakes are better because they last longer in mud and dirt? Well, yes if you own a Chevy. The previous gen Chevy's had rear discs and were a durability nightmare.
Chevy needs to join the 21 st century.
Dirt bikes have had disc brakes since the '80s.I never heard an offroader or MX guy say " I wish I still had drum brakes".
Thanks johnny dose.
That was almost as funny as the Nega - oxi posts.

It was still a respectable finish as many thought that Toyota would finish lower than that. I think they could have done better.

I still find it quite a feat. Once you reach a certain status like Watson here, you are entailed for that benefit.

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