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01 June, 2012
2012 Toyota 1000 Desert Race to be a part of the Dakar Challenge
The Absa Off-Road Car Racing Championship has been given a huge boost with the inclusion of the Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race in Botswana in June into the Dakar Challenge which could earn an African crew free entry into the 2013 Dakar Rally.
The Toyota Desert Race (TDR) is round four of the Absa series and is one of four events in Botswana, China, Australia and Egypt that form part of the Dakar Challenge. Among other benefits the winners of the Dakar Challenge for each of the four events will be given free of charge registration for driver/co-driver and vehicle for the 2013 Dakar Rally in South America.
The Dakar Challenge is open to competitors who have never taken part in a Dakar Rally before. The aim behind the concept is to provide young amateur riders/drivers the opportunity to compete in the world's most gruelling motor race, and to "track down tomorrow's heroes."
The inclusion of the Botswana race in the Dakar Challenge is part of an agreement between Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), organisers of the Dakar Rally, and the SA National Off-Road Racing Association (SANORA) in association with the Motorsport South Africa Off-Road Car Racing Commission headed by president Richard Schilling. Initial discussions on the Dakar Challenge took place between ASO's Xavier Gavory and Schilling, who is a member of the FIA Rally Raid Commission, on this year's Dakar Rally.
"It is a brilliant concept and SANORA and the MSA Commission have been more than happy to work with the ASO in this regard," said Schilling. "Via the successes of the Imperial Toyota and Century Racing teams on this year's Dakar Rally we already have a high profile on the event, but this opens another door for competitors in the Absa Off-Road Championship."
Schilling added that apart from offering a team free entry into the 2013 Dakar Rally, being part of the challenge series provided other tangible benefits.
"Being part of a series like the Dakar Challenge provides another tremendous lift for African off-road racing on the international stage," Schilling added. "Benefits will accrue in both the short and long term, and inclusion in the Dakar Challenge adds another dimension to the Toyota Desert Race which is already the biggest annual sports and social event in Botswana."
The TDR is the only marathon event on the championship calendar and will be run from 22 to 24 June. Organised by the Four Wheel Drive Club of Southern Africa, race headquarters for the event and the designated service park will again be at Kumakwane on the outskirts of Gaborone.
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