South African's ready for 2011 event

SOUTH AFRICANS TO THE FORE ON DAKAR RALLY A band of South Africans who cut their off road racing teeth in the Absa Off Road Championship will be looking for more glory on the Argentina - Chile Dakar Rally from January 1 to 16. Leading the...

SOUTH AFRICANS TO THE FORE ON DAKAR RALLY

A band of South Africans who cut their off road racing teeth in the Absa Off Road Championship will be looking for more glory on the Argentina - Chile Dakar Rally from January 1 to 16.

Leading the South African charge will be former winner Giniel de Villiers who again teams up with German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz in a factory entered VW Racing Touareg. De Villiers, a former South African Touring Car and off road champion, made history when he became the first South African to win one of motorsport's classic events in 2009.

De Villiers is joined in the VW works team by another South African champion Ralph Pitchford who will again link up with American driver Mark Miller. Pitchford and the American will be looking for their third podium finish in a row.

South African off road legend Alfie Cox, who won national off road championships on two and four wheels, will also continue his love affair with the Dakar Rally. Cox and German co-driver Jurgen Schroder will again campaign a Nissan Navara built in South Africa.

Nissan Navara's built in South Africa also form the backbone of the Belgian-based Team Overdrive which will again have a strong South African flavour. Team Castrol Toyota factory driver Anthony Taylor and former SA champion Juan Mohr will drive the support truck for Team Overdrive.

The Team Overdrive technical crew will also have strong South African connections and includes a number of technicians and engineers who regularly do duty in the Absa Off Road Championship. Among them will be Rudi Balzer who co-drives for Mark Corbett in the Century Racing team and Regent Racing crew chief Graham Thornton.

"The Dakar is one of the world's great motorsport races and for all the South Africans on this year's event it is going to be an epic adventure," said Taylor. "I would love to drive in the main race but until that happens I am more than happy to drive the support truck for a well organised team like Overdrive.

"Juan and I are looking forward to what is going to be an unforgettable experience. Hopefully Team Overdrive and the other South Africans will pick up good results."

Taylor will go to South America full of confidence. He and co-driver Robin Houghton won the recent RFS Magalies 400, the final round of the 2010 Absa Off Road Championship, and a week later Taylor wrapped up the Bridgestone Production Car Championship.

-source: saoffroadracing.co.za

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About this article
Series Dakar , Other rally
Drivers Mark Miller , Giniel de Villiers , Alfie Cox , Ralph Pitchford , Jurgen Schroder , Mark Corbett