Cooper Backs Toyota Dakar Rally Squad
Cooper Tire Europe will compete in next year’s Dakar Rally after sealing an agreement with Dakar veteran, Spaniard Xavier Foj. Along with co-driver, Argentine Pablo Jaton, Foj will compete in a Toyota Cooper Tire team Land Cruiser KXR built by Jaton’s brother. The rubber of choice for the arduous 9000 kilometre event is to Cooper’s rugged Discoverer STT.
The 2010 event will be Foj’s second year driving the Dakar on Cooper’s STT. Last year the Spanish driver finished second in the T2 class for production vehicles, with no punctures or tyre problems. And Cooper notes the driver is confident in the Discoverer STT tyres’ ability to deliver a repeat of his 1999 Dakar class victory.
“With a little shaving off of the height of the lugs, we will prevent the wheel track from scraping the surface of the dunes a little less and we shall optimise the engine power a little more but nevertheless, the main quality of these tyres is their tremendous versatility,” said Foj. “I can lower the pressure to 0.6 bar without fear of the tyre coming off its rim and can even cover the odd section of track or link to another area of sand without the need to inflate again.
“They are outstanding due to their reliability and great capacity for adapting to any type of terrain, which is fundamental in a rally such as the Dakar where, in one single special stage, you can drive on very different surfaces,” he added. “Last year, they definitely played an essential part in the second place obtained in the T2 group and I hope that this year, with the small improvements we have made, they will help us go even higher.”
The Toyota Cooper Tires team will fit the STT in sizes 255/75R15 and 245/75R15 to the Land Cruiser for the event in order to tackle the soft sandy dunes and tough, rocky terrain that will be encountered along the route. This year’s Dakar Rally, held between January 1 and 17, 2010, will be the second running of the Dakar in South America. The course will take competitors across the Atacama Desert and is believed by some to be one of the toughest in history.
“Obviously, small modifications have been made to both car and tyres to improve their behaviour in high-level competition,” commented Cooper Tire Europe’s sales and marketing director, Jorge Crespo. “However, we are fully convinced that the Discoverer STTs will again demonstrate their quality for all-terrain driving as well as their enormous versatility and strength.”