Yokohama to Supply 2009 Dakar Drivers with ‘Special’ Tyres
When Japanese drivers Ukyo Katayama and Takuma Aoki get underway in the 2009 Dakar rally, held in South America between January 3 and 18, both men will be driving vehicles fitted with tyres specially developed for the competition. Manufactured by Yokohama Rubber, the rally tyres utilise a new material the company calls “Orange Oil”, a substance also employed in Yokohama’s latest generation eco tyre, the ‘DNA Earth-1’.
Yokohama Rubber has supported Mr. Katayama in the Dakar since 2007 as part of its group effort to tackle environmental issues through its “ecoMOTION” programme. An advocate of environmental awareness through motor sports, Mr. Katayama participates in the Dakar with a car using bio-diesel fuel refined from used tempura (deep fry) oil. In 2007, in the world’s first such attempt with a 100 per cent bio fuel car, he finished 68th overall and 19th in his class. This time, Yokohama Rubber will supply Mr. Katayama with Geolander A/T-S tyres with specifications for the 2009 Dakar, which Yokohama says enables it to perform exceptionally under a variety of conditions.
The 2009 Dakar will be the first in which Mr. Aoki, a former motorcycle racer, participates. He was paralyzed from the waist down in an accident during a test run, but has made a comeback as a racer of four-wheel-drive vehicles. In the FIA Asia Cross Country Rally this year, he won his class in only his second attempt. Yokohama Rubber will supply Mr. Aoki with Geolander M/T+ tyres with 2009 Dakar specifications and improved off-road performance.
The Dakar, the world’s leading rally, marks its 31st year this year. Last year, scheduled in Africa, it was cancelled for the first time due to a deteriorating security situation. This year, the rally will be staged in Argentina and Chile and covers a distance of 9,000 kilometres.