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As usual the world’s attention was focused on the overall car results in the 2016 Dalkar Rally which has just finished.
Whenever Peugeot, Mini or Toyota Hilux (or like in years past Volkswagen or Mitsubishi) wins the title, often repeatedly, or have a few finishers in the top ten positions conclusions might be and are actually made that that particular vehicle is superior to other 4×4 makes.
Indeed people might even base their purchasing decisions on how well a particular 4×4 did in the Dakar Rally… Which doesn’t make any sense at all to me as those vehicles are all highly modified and as far removed from the models that you can buy from your local dealer as Mars is from Earth.
Which brings me to the Dakar T2 class for unmodified diesel production 4×4 vehicles. These vehicle’s are the same models you can buy from your local dealer except for some weight saving changes like fibre glass body panels and modified interiors (seats, dash etc.) and occasionally suspension upgrades. Again the diffs, engines and gearboxes are identical to models on showroom floors everywhere.
Over past years Toyota Land Cruiser’s have dominated the Dakar T2 class with drivers like Jun Mitsuhashi (Japan) and Nicolas Gibon (France). Mitsuhashi was T2 champion in 2007, 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015 (2nd in 2012) while Gibon was second in the T2 class in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and T2 champion in this year’s Dakar. Both these drivers drove Land Cruiser 100 and later Land Cruiser 200 series wagons from Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body. Indeed the top 6 finishers in this year’s Dakar T2 class were all Land Cruiser’s – 3 LC 200 series and 3 Prado’s.
For someone in the market then for an ultra reliable diesel 4×4 look no further than a Toyota Land Cruiser. Two weeks of extreme torture and 9500 kilometers can’t break them.