In the forthcoming Dakar Rally, Yokohama Rubber will be supplying its sponsored drivers with specially designed tyres. Yokohama supports Japanese drivers Ukyo Katayama and Takuma Aoki, both of whom will be driving on rally tyres that utilize “Orange Oil”, a substance that Yokohama used in its eco tyre – the “DNA Earth-1”.
Yokohama’s support for Katayama forms part of the company’s environmental, “ecoMOTION” campaign. Mr Katayama, an advocate of environmental awareness, will compete in the Dakar Rally using a car fueled by bio-diesel, refined from Tempura. The car will be fitted with Geolander A/T-S tyres, which Yokohama claims will perform superbly in the varied conditions thrown up by the rally.
This will be the second time Mr Katayama has competed in the rally, but it is the first time for ex-motorcycle racer Takuma Aoki. Mr Aoki was paralysed from the waist down following an accident in a test run, but he is now competing on four wheels rather than two. He won his class in the FIA Asia Cross Country Rally earlier this year. Yokohama Rubber will provide him with Geolander M/T+ tyres with improved off-road characteristics designed to meet the specifications of the 2009 Dakar rally.
2009 will be the 31st time the Dakar has been run. It was cancelled last year, due to security considerations in Central Africa. This year the rally will be run over a 9,000 kilometre course through Argentina and Chile.