Cooper Tire expands Dakar Rally assault for 2011
The Toyota Cooper Tire outfit finished a magnificent second in the T2 Diesel class and 16th overall in the Dakar this January, but veteran Dakar pilot, Xavier Foj, is aiming to take the class victory in 2011.
Spaniard Foj and his co-driver, Pablo Jaton, will once again compete for the team in a Toyota Land Cruiser KXR and they will be joined by a second duo – Spanish TV personality Jesus Calleja and co-driver, Ignacio Santamaria. Calleja, who presents a popular adventure travel programme on Spanish TV, will take the wheel of a Toyota Hilux in his debut on the Dakar, acknowledged as the world’s toughest rally. Foj, who will start his 22nd Dakar when the event kicks off on January 1, 2011, said, “Since the Dakar Rally moved to South America two years ago, the challenge to finish the event has been tougher than ever. The diversity of terrain that we now face on the rally is enormous – from soft sand dunes to mountain rocks and rutted tracks – but last year, our Cooper tyres dealt with everything we faced without a problem.
“In 2011, we will have a teammate racing with us. This will prove very valuable if either of our cars run into problems, as the second car will be able to help. Racing on our own was one of the hardest things in last year’s event.”
The Dakar Rally left its African roots and was moved to a South American location two years ago. The rally now takes competitors 9000km through Argentina and Chile during a 16-day marathon. The route includes sections through the Atacama Desert and the Andes mountain range.
Foj’s Land Cruiser KXR and Calleja’s Hilux will be fitted with Cooper’s acclaimed Discoverer STT rubber, which is perfect for the rugged terrain the team will face.