are renowned for their ability to handle dirt roads. And
who better to tell us about the RunX on gravel than
multiple Rally champ Serge Damseaux?
We appreciated Serge driving our road-going RunX so
gently. Especially when he’s used to pounding gravel to
a pulp in his Toyota Motorsport RunX. But Serge was
feeling mellow, having recently set a new South African
record for rally victories in the Cape Rally.
The 2005 season has seen Serge competing in a brand new
RunX. The Cape victory was a first for an entirely
different class of rally car.
The four-wheel-drive RunX was built in Toyota Motorsport’s
workshops in Johannesburg and was a step into the unknown
for the team.
Toyota Motorsport chief Wammy Haddad says that the team
was under immense pressure to make the start of the 2005
The rally RunX started life as a bare bodyshell. The roll
cage provides rigidity as well as crew protection. And the
entire body is seam-welded for added strength to take the
pounding of dirt roads.
Toyota Motorsport employs a team of Cad-Cam computer
designers who conceptualise and draw the hundreds of
specialised components in Damseaux’s car. Yet many
standard components must be used according to the rules.
The engine must be a Toyota production-based unit, albeit
The 200 kiloWatt powerplant is canted far back in the
engine bay for optimum weight distribution.
Attention to detail is exemplary. And the finished product
is a super RunX, pumped up on performance-enhancing
Mechanical Niggles saw Serge retire on the first rally in
KwaZulu Natal. But in the Cape Rally, the car ran like
It’s Damseaux’s refreshing honesty that makes him a
favourite with the team who has helped him to dominate
rallying here in the past fifteen years. Of course Toyota
appreciates the maestro’s smooth style that makes it all
look so easy!
In contrast to a dusty rally stage, the building of a
top-flight car takes place in clinical conditions. This
applies particularly to the engine-building process, where
each component is painstakingly assembled.
Each engine is run on the team’s dynamometer before
installation. But the real test is out in the forests and