The 2020 Dakar Rally has reached the finish line!
Firstly, I would like to offer my appreciation to all the competitors for finishing these 8,000 km of tough roads.
Nasser and Mathieu: congratulations for the second position overall with Hilux. It's unfortunate that you missed the second victory in a row which we promised before the rally, but your charge in the second half of the rally was really impressive. I will keep a space next to the 2019 winners' trophy in my office open for one more year.
In addition, I cerebrate our other Hilux crews, Giniel and Alex, Bernhard and Tom, and Fernando and Marc for their finishes.
Early last year, when I met Fernando in Detroit, he told me about his dream to challenge the Dakar Rally. I watched him take on the challenge, facing many difficulties; learning to repair the car, punctures and even roll overs. When Fernando rolled, he removed the broken windscreen and kept running with nothing to keep the dust out. Since he joined Toyota in rally raid, he drove without a windscreen many times. But I wasn't worried. I knew he was good at driving a car without a windscreen like in F1. So I was quite convinced he might be faster without one!
Joking aside, I do believe Fernando enjoyed this challenge and the ability to fight at the front. I'm glad we could give him this opportunity.
I would also like to congratulate Hino Team Sugawara, and Sugawara, Somemiya and Mochizuki, for their eleventh consecutive victory in the truck category (10-liter engine or smaller). I'm sorry that the other truck, which is a new model, retired from the rally, but I also respect the new challenge. I appreciate all the team members who work hard to build "ever-better trucks". Thank you very much.
I also would like to extend my congratulations to Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body (TLC) for their seventh consecutive victory in their class. Christian and Jean-Pierre, congratulations!
Akira and Laurent, congratulations for the second. But I understand your feeling.
Akira Miura sent me a message right after the finish. I would like to share his message (I didn't get permission from him though):
"Stages in Peru were bit more difficult. However, this year's Dakar used roads which are not used daily. Therefore, the roads are rough and there are many big rocks so that we have had more risks to break cars. So it's tougher because we need to concentrate all the time. In addition, because we have built cars and drivers' sense to fight Dakar in South America which had got faster every year, we got so many punctures. This rally requires toughness more than speed. From this point of view, the stages are suitable for the Land Cruiser. "This year's biggest achievement is that I could fight against Christian for the victory. Some may say it is not good to compete in the team, but I have decided for one year. Because of this mindset, I could drive with totally different level of concentration and well-honed sense. Then I was thinking all the time: 'How can I drive faster?' I believe this is very first time I'm reaching the limit with the Land Cruiser.
Huge dunes here are almost scary, but I could fully attacked with them. So it was very enjoyable and I could see more potential of Land Cruiser. In the end, this year's Dakar was great."
From his comment, I can fully appreciate the concepts of "it's the roads that makes the cars" and "both people and cars grow in the extreme conditions of motorsports". At Toyota Motor Corporation and the Toyota Group as a whole, we will strive to continue making ever-better cars by traversing a wide variety of roads and terrains across the world.
Thank you for your continued support.
President, Toyota Motor Corporation
Master Driver, Toyota Motor Corporation