Robby Gordon and Toyo pleased with competitive Dakar Rally run

Jan. 1, 2020
Although Stephane Peterhansel captured the overall Dakar Rally victory, Toyo's Robby Gordon and navigator Johnny Campbell won the 29-km timed special of Stage 14, the last in this year?s off-road marathon race.
Although Stephane Peterhansel captured the overall Dakar Rally victory, Toyo's Robby Gordon and navigator Johnny Campbell won the 29-km timed special of Stage 14, the last in this year’s off-road marathon race.

The complete route traveled 254 km from Pisco to Lima, Peru, marking the completion of a 14-day Pan American odyssey that began on the Atlantic coast in Argentina, crossed through the Andes and then turned north to Peru along the Pacific coast.

Gordon’s Hummer, the only two-wheel-drive entry finishing in the Top 10, won the brief 18-mile final stage with a 21-second margin over the second place finisher, ending the race in fifth overall – he posted three stage wins and a total of seven podiums along the way.

Gordon began Stage 14 from the 10th spot due to challenges he faced in Stage 13 over allegations of an illegally enhanced engine; he also lost time due to a rollover. (Dakar’s stewards will be issuing a final decision on the motor controversy at a later date.)

He managed to hold second-place 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 dropping out, Al-Attiyah, competing in a Hummer equipped with Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires, won Stages 2 and 7 while finishing third in Stage 3.

In addition to the normal challenges facing competitors in the Dakar, one of the two 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.

 

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Without the presence of that support vehicle during the first portion of the rally, the team was faced with a shortage of tools, spare parts and fresh sets of tires. Tires were rotated rather than replaced at times when other competitors had fresh rubber at the ready.

“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,” says Gordon, who is also noted for his exploits as a NASCAR driver.

“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,” he observes.

“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,” Gordon laments. “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,” says Amy Coleman, senior director of marketing. “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.’”

For more information, visit www.toyotires.com.

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