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Toyota to race biodiesel SUV in 2014 Dakar Rally

KYODO

Toyota Auto Body Co. has entered a team in the 2014 Dakar Rally, the subsidiary of Toyota Motor Corp. said.

The team plans to run a Toyota Land Cruiser 200 sport utility vehicle in the roughly 5,500-km off-road race that runs through Argentina, Bolivia and Chile from Jan. 4 to 18.

The Land Cruiser will run on biodiesel made from used cooking oil, emitting 60 percent less carbon dioxide than regular diesel.

“I want to compete on the world stage in a Japanese car and with Japanese technology,” driver Jun Mitsuhashi said Wednesday at an event in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, to announce the team’s entry in the race.

The annual rally, started in 1978, is open to amateurs with an off-road racing license as well as professional teams. It formerly ran from Paris to Dakar, Senegal, but has been held in South America since 2009.