SA Rally-Raid

SA Rally-Raid

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing South Africa has taken part in the South African Rally-Raid Championship (SARRC) for many years. Drivers such as Anthony Taylor, Leeroy Poulter, Giniel de Villiers, Henk Lategan and Shameer Variawa have all lined up in their South African-built and developed Toyota Hilux race vehicles.

In recent years the team has competed in Class FIA of the series, which is almost identical in specifications to the rules used during the Dakar Rally, as well as FIA races held globally. This has allowed the team to use the SACCS as a platform to test and further develop the Toyota Hilux for Dakar.

With that said, the SARRC is more than just a test and development opportunity for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA - the team takes part to win, and has proudly won the overall cross-country title every year since entering the championship under the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing SA name.

2019 saw Henk Lategan and navigator Brett Cummings become the youngest cross-country champions in South African history.  The pair brought home the title again in 2021, and as such they build on a powerful legacy left behind by drivers like Apie Reyneke, Anthony Taylor and Kassie Coetzee, to name but a few of Toyota's former cross-country champions.

Team members


	
	
		dkr22pc henk lategan

HENK LATEGAN

Driver #200
SA Rally-Raid
Lategan, born on the 5th of May in Vanderbijl Park, has always been surrounded by motorsport. His father, Heinrich, raced in the national cross-country championship as well as fielding a touring car on the circuit. He also campaigned a Peugeot in the South African National Rally Championship before hanging up his helmet - or rather, passing it on to Henk. The younger Lategan started his own racing career at the RallyStar facility near Bapsfontein in Gauteng, where he competed in a rally sprint as his first ever race.    This was behind the wheel of a 1300 Toyota Tazz - the same car that he learnt to drive in! By 2010 Lategan had progressed to the South African National Rally Championship, where he campaigned a Volkswagen Polo. In 2011 he graduated to the fearsome Class S2000 of the championship, before joining the factory Volkswagen team as a works driver in 2012.   During this period he also took part in a number of International rallies, including two rounds of the World Rally Championship. His results were good, but Volkswagen suspended their rally programme at the end of 2015, and so Lategan took a sabbatical in 2016. He changed tack for the 2017 season, joining the factory Ford team as a works driver in the South African Cross-Country Series.   2018 brought another change, as Lategan joined Toyota Gazoo Racing SA, winning the 2019 and 2020 SACCS titles.

	
	
		dkr22pc brett cummings

BRETT CUMMINGS

Navigator #200
SA Rally-Raid
Cummings started racing 1999, at the age of 16. It wasn’t all plain sailing, as he suffered a fractured ankle after another competitor rode into him, but things improved markedly from there. After racing locally, Cummings started competing on the global stage, with his first international event being the Australasian Safari in 2012. He finished 4thoverall and won the Dakar Challenge.   This set him up perfectly for his first assault on the Dakar Rally in 2013, though he also took part in the Merzouga Rally in Morocco, in order to learn the Dakar navigation system before the race. In 2014 he became the first South African to enter and finish the fearsome Malle Moto category for unsupported bikers, finishing second in class.   More international races followed, as well as a stint in a cross-country Toyota Hilux beside Thomas Rundle; and a shift in focus to fitness came next. Now it is time for the next chapter in Cummings’ racing career, and the hot seat in a Dakar-winning Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux fits the bill perfectly.

	
	
		dkr22pc giniel de villiers

GINIEL DE VILLIERS

Driver #205
SA Rally-Raid
De Villiers has become a household name in many parts of the world, thanks mainly to his victory in the 2009 Dakar Rally. However, the quiet Stellenbosch racer has also notched up numerous championships in a wide variety of racing disciplines, including the 2017 and 2018 South African Cross-Country Series titles. De Villiers has raced in 17 Dakars to date, and only finished outside the Top Ten on one occasion (2007, due to an engine fire). He has recorded eight podium finishes on the Dakar Rally, five of those behind the wheel of a South African Toyota Hilux. He has also won the Rally of Morocco four times, most recently in 2019.

	
	
		dkr22pc dennis murphy

DENNIS MURPHY

Navigator #205
SA Rally-Raid
Murphy is a self-confessed motorcycle enthusiast, who combines a love of off- road and enduro motorcycle racing with co-driving in cross country car racing. He has been competing on two wheels since he was 15, back in 1989 and is still active in enduro racing, riding his eighth Roof of Africa Rally in 2013. A former Mini Roof of Africa winner, he is a KTM man – “Once you’ve gone orange, you never go back” – and, like most off-road riders, he has always prepared his own bikes. A motor mechanic by trade, he has gained invaluable experience in preparing race machines and has worked with top off-road car racers like Gary Bertholdt and his late brother Bevan. He made his co-driving debut alongside Richard Fuller in a Class P BAT special in 2012 and the pair won their class twice, including on the marathon Toyota 1000 Desert Race, on their way to second in the class championship. In his first season as a co-driver in the production vehicle category of the national cross country championship, he navigated Anthony Taylor to his first cross country championship title after a dominant season in which they and their Castrol Team Toyota Hilux won four of the eight rounds, including the Toyota Desert Race in Botswana. The pair followed up with a second overall title in the 2014 Donaldson Cross Country Championship.

	
	
		dkr22pc shameer variawa

SHAMEER VARIAWA

Driver #207
SA Rally-Raid
Shameer Variawa was born in Johannesburg, but spent his early years in neighbouring Botswana. He cut his teeth in the sport of cross-country racing while navigating for his father, but quickly graduated to the driver’s seat. His first outing behind the wheel was at the Klerksdorp 250 regional race, which he won outright on his first attempt, at the age of 18.   His crowning achievement to date was winning the Toyota 1000 Desert Race three consecutive times, in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Variawa also competed in Dakar 2019, and joined Toyota Gazoo Racing SA as part of the factory squad later the same year.   With sights set firmly on Dakar results, Variawa is a man on a mission. Joining the team who won the 2019 Dakar Rally certainly places him on a path full of potential, and he is looking forward to taking on the new edition of the world’s toughest race in 2020.   Variawa is certainly someone to take seriously: He has won the national championship for Special Vehicles; and claimed victory in scores of events. Variawa is very much a family man, and credits his father with teaching him all he knows in terms of motorsport.

	
	
		dkr22pc danie stassen

DANIE STASSEN

Navigator #207
SA Rally-Raid
Danie Stassen was born on the 12th of September 1982. Danie was exposed to the world of racing from a young age with his brother competing in various off-road motorcycle events and his father's involvement in the technical side of rally. Danie started his racing career at the young age of 4 when he started racing mini bikes. In 2002 Danie and his brother Joos started competing in the Sasol rally, which was their home event, and from there branched out to regional rallies and finally found their way to the National Rally championships where they won class N4 in 2010. Because of his years racing in the rally championship, Danie was offered the opportunity to compete in an Off-Road event. In 2011 he started navigating for Evan Hutchinson and team Motorite. This proved to be a winning combination with the pair winning four championships in the Special vehicle Class A category, and narrowing missing the top step with a 3rd place in 2011 and a 2nd in 2014. In August of 2019 Danie moved to the FIA category with Chris Visser in the driver seat, where Danie managed to achieve 2nd place in the Navigators championship in 2020. For 2021, he joined Shameer Variawa as navigator in the SACCS, and will be competing with Variawa at Dakar 2022.

	
	
		nrc botterill

GUY BOTTERILL

Driver #209
SA Rally-Raid
Guy Botterill was born on 5 May 1986, with a passion for sport. After many years in various forms of circuit racing including, karting, production cars, Polo Cup and Shelby Can Am, Botterill entered the world of Rally.   He made his debut in the motorsport world in a 60cc GP Junior at the age of 10 years. After two short years, he was awarded his provincial colours for Motorsport after winning the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Championship in the GP Junior Class. Shortly thereafter, he moved up to a more powerful 100cc  Stock Kart where he was crowned Champion for the Provincial Championship, Inter-Provincial Championship, Club Championship, Zululand Championship for two consecutive years and was re-awarded his Provincial Colours.    After a successful run in the Stock Kart, Botterill moved on to the 100cc Super Karts where he once again dominated the Season by winning the Provincial Championship and placing top three in South Africa. Guy ended his karting career by representing South Africa in Italy at the Karting World Championships.    Straight out of school, Botterill moved into Class C of Production Cars where he quickly made his mark by winning Rookie of the Day four times, and finished the season in a remarkable 5th place.   Next came a stint in one of the most challenging and competitive classes on the main circuit, namely Engen VW Polo Cup. In his first year in Polo Cup, Botterill was awarded the VW Polo Cup Rookie of the Year Award. With enough time in the seat, he started racing in the Shelby Can-Am series where he finished 4th in the South African Championship in his first year, and missed the title of South African Champion in his second year by 0.01 of a second. He did, however, receive the award for the most improved driver during his short time in the Shelby Can-Am series.   2011 welcomed Botterill into the South African National Rally Championship. Here he found himself amongst Motorsport Legends including Giniel De Villiers, Leeroy Poulter, Jan Habig, Enzo Kuun and Mark Cronje. Botterill has won the S1600/R2 South African Rally Championship four years on the trot, as well as winning the South African National Rally Championship for the first time in 2017. In 2014 he won the S1600 championship before the season was completed and in 2016 won seven out of eight rounds of the championship. Guy Botterill was the first driver in a S1600 car to win a round of the FIA African Rally Championship in 2017.

	
	
		nrc vacy lyle

SIMON VACY-LYLE

Navigator #209
SA Rally-Raid
Simon Vacy-Lyle was born 1st September 1988 and completed his schooling at Kearsney college in Durban KZN, before going on to complete a National Diploma in Business Management. Simon began his motorsport career in 2006, starting out in Karting, where he was coached and taught all the dynamics of setup and racing tactics by Guy Botterill. Simon went on to compete in karting for the next 5 years at a regional level, before being given the opportunity to navigate for Botterill in 2011, competing in the South African National Rally Championship. Vacy-Lyle attended a course on rally navigation at the Rallystar Motorsport Academy, and has not looked back since. He has competed in rally for seven years and have won four championships: Three South African Class S1600 championships,  and one overall South African national rally championship. He currently works for the family business in the wholesale of tools and machinery, as well as keeping an eye on the preparations of their trusty TOYOTA ETIOS rally car.

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