Key points

  • Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Giniel de Villiers and Lucio Álvarez will be the two headliners entries
    in the Dakar Series China Rally this coming September 24-30.
  • The more than 2,500km course is a mostly sandy seven-stage rally drawn aroung the immense
    sand dunes and the incredible lakes of Inner Mongolia.

With less than two weeks to go before the start of the first edition of the Dakar Series Rally China, the confrontation between the Chinese drivers and rally-raiding’s international elite is taking shape. 2009 Dakar champion, Giniel de Villiers comes in as the overwhelming favourite of the rally to be contested in the dunes of Inner Mongolia, at the wheel of his Toyota Hilux pick-up with which he has finished four-times on the podium in South America. The South African driver’s biggest rival will be his Toyota team mate, Lucio Álvarez, who
finished 5th on the 2012 Dakar and is one of the sport’s rising stars. On his path towards the 2018 Dakar, the Argentina native will face a tough test from many Chinese crews led by Yong Zhou, the most experienced among them, who finished 13th on the 2015 Dakar.
The schedule for the seven-stage rally has been revamped in order to concentrate the acing program around the most accessible and user-friendly bivouacs installed at the FB Festival and Alxa Right sites. In total, nearly 2,500km rally-route in the Tengger and Badain Jaran deserts, which are known for their mountain-sized dunes and the incongruous presence of countless lakes. At the conclusion of this week of competition, the Dakar Series China Rally and its crews will be celebrated at the 12th edition of the FB-Festival, which feature a largescale off-road happening as well as concerts, stun flying shows, MMA fights, a car show as well as a food festival. This has become a must do gathering in China, which this year starts on October 3rd and promises to be a resounding success after welcoming nearly 1 million visitors in 2016.

Giniel de Villiers: “I cannot wait to take part in the Dakar Series in China. I think that the conditions will be very similar to the Dakar and it will be a fantastic experience.”
Lucio Álvarez: “I have already driven a Toyota, but to be brought in as a factory driver is something new to me. The most important thing in preparing for the Dakar is to rack up the kilometres. It is essential as we continue the development of the Hilux before sending it to South America.”