Linked in categories: 2018 | Dakar 2018 | Rallyraid

Dakar Rally 2018: South Africa´s privateer Hennie de Klerk to start with Amarok

lang Editor: Hansy Schekahn lang Photos: See credits under article   lang In database since December 12, 2017

Racing under #353, South African Hennie de Klerk will be South Africa’s only privateer in the Dakar Rally 2018 cars category - and next to Toyota´s factory driver Giniel de Villiers the only South African car.

De Klerk has won a free ticket for the Dakar in the South African "Toyota Kalahari Botswana 1000 Desert Race" together with Achim Bergmann under the label of Dakar Series. In South America he will compete together with Gerhard Schutte. Schutte is also Dakar Rookie, but has a lot of offroad experience in South Africa or more recently during the China Rally.

This is not the only interesting story, because also his car is very unique: A South African built Volkswagen Amarok Pickup. In the Botswana Desert Race, "we hardly had to get out of the car," said de Klerk. "We had two punctures but on a typical Botswana route with more sand and more sand, the navigator and I decided the best approach was to be steady and take no chances. It paid off and the VW Amarok performed beautifully."

Ok, as the most T1-prototypes, the Rally-Amarok isn´t really an Amarok. Based on a tubular frame and covered by leight-weight parts, the Rally-Amarok is powered by a 5.0-litre V8, built by WCT Engineering with sequential gearbox and 8-times rally-suspension.

Asked about his motor sports career, he said: "I started by racing on the track in a Porsche 924 and won the South African championship in 2010. And then I switched to offroad." This idea started in a small-talk to LA Sport owner Lionel Lewis: "How do I compete in the Dakar Rally?" Lewis answered: "Buy a rally vehicle and start climbing the local rally scene."

De Klerk started a 5-year offroad quest, two years in a Toyota Hilux, then in a SA built BMW X3. Finally, he now has the 5.0-litre V8 Amarok. "The ambition is to finish. With my co-driver we have a motto: "Race for tomorrow". It'll probably be my first and only Dakar, so I need to bring the car home. For that, I'll be racing at 80% and Gerhardt needs to calm me down. We're not professionals so we also want to enjoy ourselves."

The team is travelling with a group of 8 members - the two drivers, four mechanics of WCT Engineering and the two drivers of the T5 service truck and second support verhicle.


Photo: Cooper Tyres


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