Van Loon goes to Dakar 2017 with Toyota


On the eve of the OiLibya Rallye du Maroc, Erik van Loon has decided to join Overdrive Racing from Belgium. Van Loon will get the same car which Nasser Al-Attiyah drove to win the FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies. Van Loon will start, together with his co-driver Wouter Rosegaar, with the last preparations before Dakar 2017.

“I am very happy with the Toyota Hilux,” tells Van Loon. “After we finished the Bajas in Hungary and especially Poland there was a lot of doubt about the Mini. To be honest, we had that feeling already after the Dakar. But we were reassured by X-Raid that there would be improvements. When we finished Poland I got the feeling that we were stuck on this level, but the competition keeps improving. After several talks, a good test and necessary considerations I have, together with Wouter and the other guys from the team, decided to drive the Dakar Rally with the Toyota Hilux Overdrive!”

Toyota Hilux Overdrive

The Toyota Hilux has been active for several years in cross country rallies, hosted by the Belgian Overdrive Racing. The car is fitted with a 5 litre V8 petrol-engine and has a six sequential gearbox and four wheel drive. The Toyota has about 350 BHP and a torque of 560 Nm. Its top speed is near 190 kilometres per hour.

Recently, Overdrive has presented their new Hilux, a two wheel drive buggy. “This car is still in development. The factory drivers will probably drive with the new car. We choose for the proven and successful concept of the ‘old’ four wheel driven Hilux,” said Van Loon.

Le Dakar 2017

The toughest rally of the world, Le Dakar, will start on the 2nd of January and finish the 14th of January. Le Dakar will start in the capital of Paraguay, Asunción, and will go through Argentina to La Paz, the capital of Bolivia. From Bolivia, the course will set to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, where the finish podium is waiting for the competitors.

The route seems to be perfect for the Hilux. “In the Bajas we have seen that the Toyota is a great car in sand and gravel. We expect that we drive over a lot of paths this Dakar, personally I am hoping for some sand because then the navigation and driving is a key to success. But the Toyota is a perfect all-round car and can be fast on all surfaces,” tells Rosegaar.

“Excited about this new adventure!”

Van Loon and Rosegaar cannot wait for their first official kilometres in the Hilux: “Wouter and I have set our goal to reach the podium of Dakar after our fourth position two years ago. We have improved a lot since then and with the good equipment and a constant performance we can reach our goal. In the last Dakar and during the Bajas we have showed our potential. After Morocco we will know where we are with the Hilux, maybe we decide to plan an extra test to get to know the car better. I cannot wait to drive my first official race kilometre,” ends Van Loon.