Toyota stage 12 report

Toyota South Africa Motors press release

Immaculate and flawless - Toyota masters Dakar monster

#301 Toyota: Giniel de Villiers and Dirk Von Zitzewitz
#301 Toyota: Giniel de Villiers and Dirk Von Zitzewitz

Photo by: A.S.O.

Nasca/Peru Uncharted Rally Dakar territory, episode two: Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) and Dirk von Zitzewitz (Karlshof/Germany) have once again superbly mastered a merciless challenge at the toughest rally in the world, defended there excellent third place overall with the third-fastest time of the day, and taken another step towards an absolute dream result. In uncharted Dakar territory for the second day in succession – Peru is hosting the rally for the first time - the 2009 Dakar-winning duo once again produced an almost flawless drive in their privately run Imperial Toyota Hilux. de Villiers/Zitzewitz produced a cool-headed drive, avoiding any driving or navigation errors and guiding the reliable technology on their pick-up to the evening's bivouac without any serious problems, despite relentless dune sections, in which every one of the top drivers got stuck at least once. Two days before they are scheduled to reach the Dakar finish in Lima/Peru, "Ginny" and "Schnietz" are still punching way above their weight and remain the positive surprise of this year's Dakar. And all this in the midst of the favourites from the only semi-works team – X-raid Mini – who are regarded as being considerably stronger and who once again played a major role on the twelfth stage between Arequipa and Nazca. Today's winner was Robby Gordon in his Hummer, ahead of Mini driver Leonid Novitskiy. Stéphane Peterhansel and Joan "Nani" Roma (both Xraid Mini) continue to top the overall rankings.

Today's stage in Peru combined a long connection through the Pampa de Cortaderas, on the Pacific, with a typically Dakaresque challenge: 245 relentless kilometres over scree, through powdery guadal sand and river beds around the Río de Acari, and over perilous dunes. On the section leading north-west from Arequipa to Nazca, de Villiers/von Zitzewitz benefitted from the design of their Imperial Toyota Hilux, which was designed in accordance with future Dakar regulations and features an extremely short front overhang, which makes it easier to cross dunes. Compared to the X-raid Minis, they lost relatively little time in the tricky dunes around Nazca. Despite having less performance than the opposition's thoroughbred racing engines, the South African/German team managed to restrict the time gained, in accordance with the SCORE regulation, by the Hummer, which is ideally suited to this terrain, to just 22 minutes today.

Before de Villiers/von Zitzewitz reach the finish and are actually able to celebrate their secret goal of a top-five finish, thus completing a surprise coup earned through consistent hard work over the previous stages, the Dakar organisers A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation) have thrown in another couple of difficult stages. Saturday features another short (275 kilometres), but no less sweet, special stage, before the drivers go against the clock for another 29 kilometres on Sunday.

“To be honest, I'm glad to get that stage over and done with. Today the Dakar really threw everything at us. The dunes, in particular, were immensely tricky. I think every one of the top drivers got entrenched here at least once today. We also had a bit of a shock in this regard, but apart from that we came through really well and left four of the five Minis behind us. The stage also showed that the rally is only over when you reach the ramp in Lima. I wonder what time the last competitors will come out of that dune field tonight.”
Giniel de Villiers after stage twelve of the Dakar Rally

“A real dune fest, African style. Today was a really difficult day at the Dakar. Navigating was also a challenge today, and we were able to make up time again when our rival Krzysztof Hołowczyz went off course but we noticed the mistake in time. Unfortunately we ground to a halt in the final third of the dune field, which had a lot of soft sand and small, short dunes. We were stuck there for a few minutes. We let out some air and came through without any further problems after that. Then, just to round things off, we were greeted at the bivouac by a sandstorm.”
Dirk von Zitzewitz after stage twelve of the Dakar Rally

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Stéphane Peterhansel , Giniel de Villiers , Dirk von Zitzewitz
Tags de villiers, hilux, preu, toyota