“Find a balance between speed and strategy”
Motorsports run in the Variawa family from generation to generation. Shameer was inspired by his father and his children are both racing in karts around the world. For the last 26 years, the South African with Indian origins has been competing in all types of off-road events: in South Africa of course but also in the US and Mexico. The Dakar was the next one on his bucket list. His visit to South America and the bivouacs of Peru in 2018 convinced him. A year later, he was at the start of the event in a Nissan Navarra prepared by his own racing team. After all sorts of issues, and having to drive in the dust for most of the stages, his adventure stopped on day 9 after damaging his rear left suspension for good. Now aware of what it takes to be competitive on the world’s toughest rally, Variawa returns but this time on Saudi soil and as a member of the Toyota Gazoo South-Africa squad in a very competitive Hilux. At his side, the successful businessman will be counting on the precious help of compatriot Dennis Murphy, an experienced navigator on the South-African cross-country scene alongside Giniel De Villiers. While he’ll be a rookie on the rally, it won’t be his first time on the Dakar. These last few years he was indeed part of the Toyota technical a crew.
« My father used to be a racer back in the seventies. I’ve been competing for the last 26 years. I’ve won numerous championships, raced in Mexico and the USA, but I never had the opportunity to do the Dakar despite the fact it was a race I started following when I was nineteen. It was time to give a go. My previous experience at Dakar left me wanting more from the race. Dakar 2019 eventually got the better of us.
We were driving in very difficult conditions with pretty much zero visibility and we had an impact with something and damaged the rear left suspension of the Navara. But that’s the Dakar - we could have been a metre or two to the right and driven past whatever it was, but that was it -it was what it was. We came and gave it our best shot as a privateer outfit and we were proud of what we achieved. They don’t call the Dakar the toughest race in the world for nothing -we went eight rounds with her before she took us out. Now, as part of a works team, I’m looking forward to taking on the race again, and I’ll be aiming to learn as much as possible. With that said, I’m also looking to record some good results, and will try to find a balance between speed and strategy early on.”
TOYOTA GAZOO RACING
- Marque : TOYOTA
- Modèle : HILUX
- Préparateur : Toyota Gazoo Racing
- Assistance : Toyota Gazoo Racing
- Classe : T1.1 4x4 TT modifiés essence
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Shameer Variawa et son copilote Dennis Murphy ont signé leur premier Top 10 de l’année au terme de la huitième spéciale. Variawa, qui avait dû abandonner après avoir cassé un amortisseur en 2019, s’est engagé pour ce 43e Dakar avec l’envie d’enregistrer de bons résultats tout en poursuivant...
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