Robby Gordon and Toyo Tires cap the Dakar with stage 14 win
Robby Gordon and navigator Johnny Campbell finished the 2012 Dakar on a high note by winning the 29km timed special of Stage 14, the last in this year’s off-road marathon rally. The overall route travelled 254km from Pisco to Lima, Peru, marking the completion of a 14-day Pan American odyssey which began on the Atlantic coast in Argentina, crossed through the Andes, and then turned north to Peru along the Pacific coast.
Gordon’s #303 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER won the brief 29km (18-mile) final stage with a large 21-second margin over the second place finisher. He finished fifth overall in the 2012 Dakar, capturing three stage wins and a total of seven podiums along the way. In addition, Gordon’s HUMMER was the only two-wheel-drive vehicle finishing in the top ten.
Gordon began Stage 14 from the 10th spot due to challenges he faced during Stage 13, which included lost time due to a rollover. He managed to hold second overall for much of the rally, even while sacrificing a Stage 1 win to assist his teammate, Nasser Al-Attiyah who had a mechanical problem near the end of the stage. Al-Attiyah ultimately retired during Stage 9. Prior to his retirement, Al-Attiyah, driver of the Toyo Open Country M/T-R equipped #300 Qatar HUMMER, won Stages 2 and 7, and finished third in Stage 3.
In addition to the normal challenges facing competitors in the Dakar, one of the two Team SPEED support trucks was delayed in customs in Argentina prior to the start of the race. It was not released until Stage 6, drivers taking shifts behind the wheel to race across Argentina into Chile to catch up with the day’s bivouac. Without the presence of that support vehicle during the first portion of Dakar, the team was faced with a shortage of tools, spare parts and fresh sets of tires. In fact, tires were rotated, rather than replaced at times when other competitors had fresh replacements.
“It was a great Dakar Rally for us. We were able to take what we had learned over the last few years and incorporate it into our cars and team. The improvements showed because we definitely had the fastest cars during the race,” said Gordon. “The tires were great during the Dakar as well. It shows just how tough Toyo has built them to sustain all the elements that we encountered during the 14-day event.”
“I made a technical decision to change a hub on Stage 11 rather than just greasing it, and this decision ultimately cost us the rally,” continued Gordon. “If I hadn’t made this decision, I feel quite confident that we would have won the race.”
“We congratulate Robby Gordon, Johnny Campbell, Nasser Al-Attiyah and their entire support crew for their accomplishments in this year’s Dakar rally,” said Amy Coleman, senior director of marketing, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. “We are proud that our Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires were a part of this great effort which is now in the history books. Robby Gordon and his team have truly displayed the heart and determination that represents our company mantra… Driven to Perform.”
The podium results for the two Toyo Open Country M/T-R equipped HUMMERS of Gordon and Al-Attiyah during the 2012 Dakar were impressive:
- Stage 2: Win (Al-Attiyah); Third (Gordon)
- Stage 3: Third (Al-Attiyah)
- Stage 5: Second (Gordon)
- Stage 7: Win (Al-Attiyah); Second (Gordon)
- Stage 8: Second (Gordon)
- Stage 9: Win (Gordon)
- Stage 12: Win (Gordon)
- Stage 14: Win (Gordon)
Check out the overview of the event, along with videos, on the Dakar Rally Blog located at www.toyotires.com/dakar-rally-blog. To learn more about Robby Gordon and the Open Country line of light truck tires, log onto www.toyotires.com.