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    Belgian participant has big plans for Dakar 2020

    © Belga

    Tom Colsoul, one of two Belgians in the starting lineup in the Dakar 2020 car category starting Sunday 5 January, has big plans along with his co-driver, Dutchman Bernhard ten Brinke. 

    The two will be competing on board a Toyota Hillux in the first Dakar rally in Saudi Arabia. 

    The 2020 edition of the race has 12 stages with a rest day in between for a total distance of 7,856 kms, of which 5,097 will be timed.

    “For six stages, we’ll only receive the road book a quarter of an hour before departure, Colsoul said, adding that the organisers will have indicated the most dangerous passages.

    “We’ll see what that gives at the rally but where preparation is concerned, we’ve already been tested, Bernhard and I, in other competitions,” he added. 

    Bernhard ten Brinke and Tom Colsoul will drive a Toyota Hilux V8 307, bearing Toyota’s red, black and white colour.

    “We’re very motivated. Everyone is starting from scratch, so we have all our chances,” ten Brinke stated, stressing that the pair was well prepared, having competed in many rallies, including those of Qatar and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, where conditions are close to those that will be faced by the competitors in the 42nd edition of the Dakar. 

    Despite a violent crash in Abu Dhabi, the two drivers believe in their chances.

    “We are in a factory team, so we have excellent equipment,” Colsoul said, noting that the team has everything to succeed “in this rally on a whole new track with plenty navigation and sand.  

    Toyota Gazoo Racing is pulling out all stops, deploying Qatar’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and South African Giniel de Villiers as its other pilots, while this year’s attraction will be former Formula 1 pilot Fernando Alonso of Spain, who will be on his first Dakar. 

    “Nasser Al-Attiyah is the big favourite, commented Colsoul. “The only thing that could disturb him is driving in Saudi Arabia as a Qatari. The public will root for Yazeed Al-Rajhi. Mental strength could play a role and outsiders could benefit. I put us in this box with Peterhansel, Sainz, Terranova and Przygonski. It will be an exciting Dakar in a magnificent setting. 

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times