The Paris-Dakar Rally (1995-2001)

1995 17th; Granada-Dakar

This marked the first year of Team Araco's (Now TLC) entry, which raced a single Land Cruiser 80 in the unmodified production diesel class also as part of the commemoration of the Land Cruiser's achievement of reaching 2.5 million production units. Although the Land Cruiser maintained first place for the first half of the race, on the very first day of the second half, the team lost its supporting camion to the Mauritania desert. Despite the lack of any replacement parts, the Land Cruiser continued to battle on. Although it was not able to capture the class championship, the Land Cruiser managed to finish the race fourth in its class.
  • Vehicle No. 1: Asaga-Ito: 4th in its class

1996 18th; Granada-Dakar

In its second year, Team Araco sought to increase its chances of winning by entering two Land Cruiser 80 vehicles. The first vehicle carried the same members as the previous year, while the second vehicle featured veteran French rally driver, G. Sarazan, and Araco employee (Now Toyota Auto Body) Takashi Fujisawa as navigator for the grueling challenge. As other entrants fell out of the race, the two Land Cruiser 80s led the entire race and finished 1st-2nd in their class. The two vehicles also claimed the top two positions for all diesel vehicles, proving the robustness of the Land Cruiser in the world's most prominent rally.
  • Vehicle No. 1: Asaga-Ito: 2nd in its class
  • Vehicle No. 2: Sarazan- Fujisawa: 1st in its class

1997 19th; Dakar-Agades-Dakar


The Team Araco (Now TLC) lineup was the same as the previous year with the two Land Cruiser 80s and same team members but with Araco employee (Now Toyota Auto Body) Yoshihiro Ito, the previous year's team manager, taking over as team director. This served as a new challenge for Toyota Team Araco. Vehicle number 2 demonstrated blazing speed, but unfortunately flipped over in the 10th stage at high speed and had to retire. Perhaps inspired by this, vehicle number 1 picked up the pace and began its assault on vehicles ahead. Although it could not catch the leaders, it was able to finish 2nd in its class.
  • Vehicle No. 1: Asaga-Ito: 2nd in its class
  • Vehicle No. 2: Sarazan-Fujisawa: retired

1998 20th; Paris-Granada-Dakar

The lineup of two Land Cruisers remained unchanged, but Hajime Ito (Araco employee/now Toyota Auto Body) was appointed as the navigator for vehicle number 1 together with Tadahiro Tsuzuki being appointed as the team director. The race was highly demanding with about half the entrants dropping out in the first half of the race. Despite this, the team's Land Cruiser 80s thoroughly demonstrated its tremendous potential, sweeping the top two positions in its class and putting a gap of over 13 hours between themselves and the 3rd placed finisher. This marked the final run for the Land Cruiser 80, which at the time had about 537,000 units produced since 1990.
  • Vehicle No. 1: Asaga-Ito: 2nd in its class
  • Vehicle No. 2: Sarazan-Fujisawa: 1st in its class

1999 21st; Granada-Dakar


The 21st rally marked the first entry for the Land Cruiser 100 and the fifth consecutive entry for Team Araco. The drivers for the two vehicles remained the same while the navigators were changed, marking the debut for G. Trouble who navigated the 2nd vehicle. This also was the last race as a driver for 59-year old G. Sarazan, making it an important event as to determine whether he could end his career in victory. Because this was the first competition for the Land Cruiser 100, many tests were performed prior to the race primarily to check the strength around the independent front suspension. The race was started with confidence and continuing from last year, the two vehicles were able to finish 1st-2nd in the unmodified production diesel class placing over 10 hours between themselves and the 3rd placed finisher. Claiming an impressive victory on its debut, the new Land Cruiser 100 demonstrated its power to the world.
  • Vehicle No. 1: Asaga-Fujisawa: 2nd in its class
  • Vehicle No. 2: Sarazan-Trouble: 1st in its class

2000 22nd; Paris-Dakar-Cairo

The first Paris-Dakar Rally course to traverse Africa started out with a total distance of over 10,000 km. However, the distance was shortened when four days were cancelled due to information regarding terrorist activity. New drivers Ratet and Garcin in vehicle number 2 teamed for an effective all-French combination and fully tapped the great potential of the already mature Land Cruiser 100. For the third year in a row, Toyota finished 1st-2nd in the unmodified production diesel class.
  • Vehicle No. 1: Asaga-Fujisawa: 2nd in its class
  • Vehicle No. 2: Ratet-Garcin: 1st in its class

2001 23rd; Paris-Dakar

2001 marked the 50th year since the creation of the Land Cruiser as the team remained the same from the previous year. The rally was held over a longer than usual 21 days and with the new restriction of no air mechanic support, the race turned into a relentless battle. Vehicle number 2 suffered major damage to its left front suspension during the race, but the strengthened supporting squad helped to overcome this. Although vehicle number 1 had to retire due to engine trouble in the 17th stage, thus preventing another 1st-2nd sweep, vehicle number 2 was able to win the championship for its class.
  • Vehicle No. 1: Asaga-Fujisawa: retired
  • Vehicle No. 2: Ratet-Garcin: 1st in its class

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