Cooper-Supported Team Claims Second Place in 2010 Dakar Rally
The Toyota Cooper Tire team claimed second place in the T2 production car class at this year’s Dakar Rally. Dakar veteran driver Xavier Foj and co-driver Pablo Jaton overcame a faulty ECU unit; a day spent digging themselves out of the sand dunes; and an encounter with a massive rock in a river, which almost destroyed their car’s rear differential, to finish on the podium at the rally’s conclusion.
The pair completed more than 9,000km of the most arduous terrain, including rocks, gravel and sand in their Toyota Land Cruiser KXR, shod with Cooper’s rugged Discoverer STT tyres. After leading the class briefly at the beginning of the event, famed for being the toughest off-road race in the world, the team was holding a solid third place, but moved up to second when factory Toyota driver Nicolas Gibon crashed out on day 12. The Dakar took the team through Argentina and Chile, including stages across the Atacama Desert. It started on New Year’s Day and ended on 17 January.
Foj said, “I am delighted to have secured second in class in the Dakar. This year’s event has been really tough, much tougher than previous years when it was held in Africa. Here we have had very difficult terrain and much higher temperatures than we experienced in Africa. But the car and the Discoverer STT tyres have performed superbly throughout the race.”
Cooper Tire Spain’s Enrique Bonafonte trailed Foj and Jaton throughout the event and said, “The team worked really hard. We knew it would be hard to beat the factory team, so second is a great result. One of the biggest difficulties was that [whereas] the factory teammates could help each other out, but Xavi was on his own.” The Toyota Cooper Tires team fitted 255/75R15 and 245/75R15 STTs to the KXR for the event.