N°217 Car TOYOTA GAZOO RACING

HENK LATEGAN

(zaf)

Hobbies

rallying, riding enduro bikes

Sponsors

Toyota, Red Bull, Eurol, Kinto, Innovation Group

2022: 31st, 2 stage wins
2021: Ab. Stage 5

2022: South African cross-country series (2nd)
2021: South African cross-country series (1st)
2020: South African cross-country series champion
2019: South African cross-country series champion
Former eWRC and WRC driver

Interview

“We can be quick over a single day”

When he arrived on the Dakar in 2021, he was considered as the rising star of rally-raid, but the learning process was a rather tough one for Henk Lategan on the toughest rally there is. The South African grew up in the world of motorsports. At 15 years of age, he participated in his first regional event as his father Hein's co-driver. Less than a decade later, he became the youngest driver to win the South African rally-raid title. His career also led him to cross paths with his idol Sebastien Loeb on the roads of the Monte Carlo rally. He didn't know then that they would meet again on the Dakar. At the time, the young Henk raced exclusively in traditional rallies behind the wheel of a Skoda. In 2018, he switched to long-distance racing with the Toyota Gazoo team. But nothing is established on the Dakar. After a promising start, an excess of enthusiasm caught up with the South African who crashed and injured his shoulder. Fully focused on just finishing the event, 28 year-old Lategan couldn’t be entirely satisfied with his 31st spot last January after suffering quite a few navigation mistakes or mechanical upsets. He did however prove than on the odd day, he had the pace to capture two stage wins. Second of the South African championship behind his experienced team-mate Giniel De Villiers, Lategan shows up more prepared than ever. He will once again count on his co-driver Brett Cummings, a veteran biker who has finished the Dakar twice (2013, 2014).

H.L.: “Last year was a another learning year for us. The first year, I was afraid I would be a bit slow to start. So last year was definitely more about finding a comfortable pace that I could actually drive for two weeks. And then also just getting to the end of the two weeks, that was the most important thing and that was made quite clear to me before I started the race. The pace was good and then we had a bad day on stage 2 with our wheel disappearing down the road past us. I knew basically that the fight for a good position was over and we'd be there for the experience. And then it was sort of finding our way and trying to get up to the pace, which we did quite well some days leading the stage and then making mistakes or having mechanical issues. That stopped us from winning a few more stages. But yeah, the first stage we won was actually a ridiculous day. I don't know how many times we stopped in the stage and tried to fix the door that we broke, doing 100 kilometres with the door open and holding it closed. So that was actually ridiculous. I couldn't believe that we had won the stage. I managed to win the last stage as well, which means it obviously wasn't a fluke. I think for this year we now know we can get to the end and we know we can be quick over a single day. I think the trick is going to be trying to put a whole Dakar together and race two weeks. That's something we obviously have never done with all the mistakes that we made. This season we've only raced in South Africa. We've done a lot of testing with the car trying to get it even further along the development path. It's gone quite well. I think we've made a few steps forward. I think I'm better prepared for this Dakar than I've probably been for any race in my life. So I'm looking forward to it.”

Vehicle

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING

TOYOTA GR DKR HILUX
TOYOTA GAZOO RACING

  • TOYOTA
  • GR DKR HILUX
  • Toyota Gazoo Racing
  • Toyota Gazoo Racing
  • T1+: Prototype Cross-Country Cars 4x4

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