Unforgettable adventure at the 2024 Dakar Rally

Dakar winners - official tools partner of Toyota Gazoo Racing.

In a bold move that transcends the typical customer appreciation gesture, Ingco Tools, the renowned provider of professional tools made affordable, recently treated six of its top customers to an unforgettable adventure – a trip to Saudi Arabia to witness the 2024 Dakar Rally up close and personal.

Toyota Gazoo sponsored by Ingco Tools driving through the Dakar desert.

As the main sponsor for Toyota Gazoo Racing, Ingco Tools secured exclusive camping rights in the bivouacs, providing the lucky attendees with a unique behind-the-scenes experience.

The six-member team arrived on the first rest day of the Dakar Rally and embarked on a week-long journey, covering 3 000km across the breath taking landscapes of Northern Saudi Arabia. The trip was a perfect blend of a spiritual and serene holiday, combined with the rush and exhilaration of witnessing the Dakar Rally live – an experience that very few can claim to have had.

Mixed results for Toyota Gazoo Racing

The 2024 edition of the Dakar Rally brought mixed results for Toyota Gazoo Racing, with some of the team’s seasoned professionals facing challenges. However, it was Giniel de Villiers and the two rookie drivers, Guy Botterill and Saood Variawa, who stole the spotlight.

De Villiers holds the amazing record for the most consecutive Dakar Rally finishes – 2024 was his 21st Dakar which he successfully completed with his co-driver, Dennis Murphy. He was hampered by navigational issues during the 2024 event, which cost him significant time early in the race. He also struggled with punctures in the rocky stages and finished in 7th.

Guy Botterill, a multiple-time South African Rally Champion, navigated the challenging race with co-pilot Brett Cummings and secured an impressive 6th place overall, despite limited experience in the dunes. His performance ensured he was also crowned as Leading Rookie for Dakar 2024. At the same time, young Saood Variawa, just 18 years of age, became one of the youngest works drivers in the history of the sport, bringing his GR IMT Hilux T1U home in 17th place overall, with Frenchman Francois Cazalet beside him in the car.

In addition to the three South African drivers, TGR also included two international crews for Dakar 2024. While youngster Seth Quintero, from the USA, has a fair amount of Dakar experience, the other new signing, Lucas Moraes, was himself a rookie at Dakar one year ago.

Moraes, from Brazil, was partnered with Spanish co-driver Armand Monleon for Dakar 2024. The pair showed exceptional pace and maturity throughout the event, winning Stage 3 and moving into second place on the penultimate stage before disaster struck. A series of setbacks cost them significant time, dropping them down to 9th place overall.

Finally, Seth Quintero and co-driver Dennis Zenz (Germany) started Dakar 2024 in fine form. Unfortunately they had a hard impact with a rock that damaged the twin-turbo V6 engine in their Toyota Hilux. The team was forced to fit a new engine, which incurred a massive penalty, and dropped them out of contention. They continued to compete for good stage results, supporting their teammates with spare parts where needed.

By the time the dust settled over the last of Dakar 2024’s 12 stages, TGR had achieved 6th, 7th and 9th places in the Top 10; while three other Toyota Hilux crews also attained positions in the Top 10.

Investing in the future

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s commitment doesn’t end with the 2024 Dakar Rally. The team is investing in its drivers, with Seth, Lucas, Henk Lategan (absent from this year’s rally due to shoulder surgery), and Saood set to participate in the W2RC rally raid circuit in Abu Dhabi, Spain/ Portugal, Argentina and Morocco in 2024. The 2025 Dakar Rally will serve as a continuation of this effort, ensuring the drivers are well-conditioned and experienced in tackling challenging dunes.

Bertus Hansen and Angelo Angelos.

Ingco Tools’ perspective

Ingco Tools MD Angelo Angelos expressed the harsh realities and the immense satisfaction that comes with the Dakar Rally. “The Dakar is heartbreak from the first kilometre to the last – there are so many variables in a race of this nature. Until the competitors reach the finish line, there is no guarantee of position. The drivers and support teams work around the clock, ensuring the vehicles/bikes go out each day. It can be very cruel but also very rewarding.”

Customers’ testimonials

The six customers who accompanied Angelos and Ingco Sales Manager, Theuns Kotze, on this extraordinary trip were self-confessed motorheads, and each of them shared their thoughts on the once-in-a-lifetime experience. Their quotes and memories serve as a testament to the impact of witnessing the Dakar Rally in person.

Ross Branch and Stuart Konig.

STUART KONIG – Northern Bolt and Tool

Best Moment: “My best moment of the Dakar 2024 is etched in my memory, characterised by feelings of pure joy, elation and pride – an emotional snapshot in time that I will never forget. The moment occurred on the final day of the rally when Ross Branch completed the race. I was with his team at the finish line and when he came to embrace them there was a sense of electricity in the air. The elation of not only completing arguably the toughest race in the world but placing 2nd in the overall bike category and seeing Branches dreams realised was a very emotional moment. The man from Botswana putting in a magnificent performance throughout the race was a privilege to witness first hand. As a fellow African his result made me feel a powerful sense of pride, I do not get emotional very often but I do not think there was a dry eye in this moment. The sense and lesson of never giving up and pursuing your ultimate dream perfectly on display, has also inspired me to strive in everything I do to be the best. I would like to thank the Ingco team and Angelo for the opportunity and support in realising my dream of attending such a prestigious event which is the Dakar Rally.”

General comment: “The Dakar Rally is an event I have followed annually since my early childhood. The people and competitors involved became my heroes as did the event itself. They say you should never meet your heroes but in this case, I highly recommend it as the event exceeded my wildest expectations. Being able to personally meet the legends of the sport and the greatest drivers in the world was a dream come true. I was fortunate enough to witness history being made, memories I will never forget. The event is extremely well organised and given the opportunity, I would encourage everyone to attend at least one Dakar in their life.

Image taken by Bertus Hansen of the Dakar Rally desert and dunes with tyre tracks in the sand.

BERTUS HANSEN – INDUSGROW (WORCESTER)

Best Moment: “Seeing Guy Botterill who is in his first year of Dakar doing so well coming 6th out of the 170+ pack with limited resources. This dude is going to become a Dakar legend and is in contention to win it in the next few years”

General Comment: “It was a life changing experience to be part of the Dakar as a Toyota Gazoo team member and to be able to interact with the pit crew and drivers. The behind the scenes activity is not seen on TV making it 10% of the reality”

Christie Lauwrens sitting on a sand dune at the Dakar Rally.

CHRISTIE LAUWRENS – EB’s Hardware Potchefstroom

Best Moment: “Choking on the dust, the desert sand stuck in my ears, and having gravel and stones thrown at you each time a rally car passed (especially the Toyota Gazoo racing team) After each pass I had to empty my shoes!. I will also never forget the moment a rally car missed us by a few metres after heading straight for us on one of the sand dunes, sending a photographer somersaulting down a sand dune”

General Comment: “Mind blowing and mind altering experience. Being behind the scenes of the world’s toughest rally race has given me a newfound respect and admiration for the sport. It was like being in a reality TV show – the chase, the constant travelling and the excitement. I am blessed to have been part of DAKAR 2024”

Dakar Rally with the Toyota Gazoo truck climbing over a sand dune.

ANDRIES COETZEE – Honolulu Mica Group

Best Moment: “To constantly be in the middle of the action and meeting the drivers and the teams responsible for keeping them in the race”

General Comment: “The magnitude of the Dakar exceeded all my expectations. It is so much more than people realise. It is an exceptionally well organised event”

CASPER Le Roux – DIY Depot Voorbaai, Mosselbaai

Best Moment: “You cannot buy an experience like this – I carry Mandela R5 coins wherever I go in the world and hand these over to individuals who show an act of kindness. The coin may not be worth much but it is symbolic of a country that I love and believe to be the most beautiful country in the world. The image I have chosen to use is one of my best moments of Dakar 2024 where I hand over a coin to a local who gave me a chair and some cold water in the dunes – my way of sharing the beauty of South Africa with people that I meet around the world”

General Comment: “Very grateful to Angelo for the opportunity”

CHARL De Waal – Handi In DIY

Best Moment – “I don’t have a particular best moment – the whole Dakar experience is one epic memory and will stay with me for all time. The generosity of Skillcraft and Ingco to take us on a trip like this is something that will always stand out. Angelo and Theuns were one of the boys, absolutely fantastic”

General comment: “The scale of DAKAR –what you see on TV is not a patch on what really happens there – it is mind blowing – the logistics behind it is mind blowing”

Conclusion

Ingco Tools’ initiative to provide such a unique and immersive experience goes beyond traditional customer appreciation. It solidifies the brand’s commitment to creating lasting memories and fostering strong relationships with its clientele. As the 2025 Dakar Rally looms on the horizon, one can only anticipate the continued success and thrilling adventures that Ingco Tools and Toyota Gazoo Racing have in store for their enthusiasts.

Toyota Gazoo Racing Dakar winners

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