Coconutters Aim for Dakar Top 10

The Hilux off the wharf! Garry Kirk working hard to get the car ready for Geoff and Edouard to test drive.
The Hilux off the wharf! Garry Kirk working hard to get the car ready for Geoff and Edouard to test drive.

Back for his fourth attempt at Dakar, the Cairns based driver Geoff Olholm is targeting a top ten finish in the #331 Coconut Racing Team Overdrive prepared Toyota Hilux. The red Hilux has been treated to a major facelift in preparation for the 9,000km, 14 day race which starts in Buenos Aires, then heads over the Andes into Chile and Bolivia before turning back over the Andes and returning to Buenos Aires. Under the hood the engine has been upgraded to the 5.0 litre V8, the live rear end has been converted to an independent set up and the crew will now have an air conditioned office. The 350hp / 560Nm V8 is matched to a Sadev 6 speed sequential with an AP Racing Sinter metallic clutch and Overdrive/Hallspeed differentials.

“The goal is the Top 10 and I’ve been preparing for the last two years. I really enjoyed my 2013 Dakar, being able to race with the top drivers in the world. Now I’ve turned from a driver who wants to finish to one who wants to do well.”

Boulanger and Olholm testing the Coconut Race Team Hilux.
Boulanger and Olholm testing the Coconut Race Team Hilux.

Sitting alongside Geoff as navigator will be former French bike rider Edouard Boulanger, who Olholm only just met face to face for the first time in Argentina. “He was strongly recommended by Overdrive. He has the background of a motorbike rider and he’s a great mechanic added to the fact that he’s young and fit.” said Olholm

Since finishing 11th outright at their last Dakar  in January 2013, Olholm has maintained a busy motorsport schedule. Bringing the Overdrive Hilux to Australia and winning the Silver City 1000 cross country rally in Broken Hill and heading west to dominate the 2013 Australasian Safari. While the Hilux was then shipped back to Europe for an update by Overdrive, Olholm then jumped behind the wheel of a classic Datsun 260Z Rally car to win the Sydney to London Marathon in 2014.

Olholm and Boulanger and the Coconut Racing Team are now putting the finishing touches on the #331 Hilux ahead of race start on January 4th. The Coconutters will be joined by a number of other Aussie teams at the 2015 installment of Dakar including:
#407 Adrian Di Lallo and Harry Suzuki in the Isuzu MU-X
#26 Toby Price KTM
75 Llewellyn Sullivan-Pavey KTM
#76 Simon Pavey KTM

A total of 138 Cars, 164 Bikes and 64 trucks are registered to compete. Ten Overdrive Hiluxes are amongst the field. Former event winner Giniel de Villiers and fellow South African support driver Leeroy Poulter will run a pair of Toyotas under the Toyota Imperial South Africa banner with logistical support supplied by Overdrive Racing. A further eight cars bolster the mammoth programme through the Overdrive concern.

Overdrive’s team director Jean-Marc Fortin confirmed that the Belgian team will run V8-powered Hiluxes for Saudi Arabia’s Yazeed Al-Rajhi, Dutchman Bernhard Ten Brinke, Argentine Lucio Alvarez, Pole Marek Dabrowski, Frenchman Christian Laveille, Australian Geoff Olholm, Kazakh Bauyrzhan Issabayev and Czech driver Peter Jerie in one of the largest and most international teams ever to grace the Dakar Rally entry list.

Let the adventure begin.