Direction Dunes: Three-O-One consolidates second place overall
La Rioja, 15th January 2013 After their elevation to second place overall on the 2013 Dakar Rally on Monday, Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz managed to consolidate their impressive overall position on the event’s tenth leg. Having started the day with an advantage of 6:32 minutes over their closest rivals, Leonid Novitskiy and Konstantin Zhiltsov in an X-raid-Mini, the South African and his German co-driver even managed to extend the cushion en route to the day’s final control in La Rioja. The duo driving the Toyota Hilux is currently 16:02 minutes ahead of their third placed rivals, and have a deficit of 52:38 minutes to overall leaders Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret, also driving a Mini.
After the leg’s start in Córdoba and a short link section, the route took in 353 competitive kilometres consisting of mainly high-speed sections more reminiscent of World Rally Championship stages before reaching La Rioja. The 2009 winners demonstrated remarkable consistency in their Toyota Hilux, with the South Africa-German crew recording top four times at each of the day’s way points. It proved a day “Ginny” and “Schnietz” could be totally satisfied with, particularly as the twelfth “Dakar” day, which ends in Fiambalá, takes in classic stages through the region’s sand dunes. Full concentration will once again be demanded.
“After our exciting Monday we enjoyed a comparatively quiet day today. It was a good feeling, particularly as tomorrow sees us head into the dunes around Fiambalá. Although we were slightly hampered by Robby Gordon’s dust today, we are pleased we managed to extend the gap to third place. It gives us good rearward cover.”
Giniel de Villiers after leg 10
“We are extremely satisfied with today. Navigation was comparatively simple, so we were able to drive consistently through the stage. We know the 11th stage to Fiambalá well, so we are very optimistic, and aim to post another good performance on Wednesday. We also have a good starting position, which makes it a lot easier.”
Dirk von Zitzewitz after leg 10
Results: Dakar Rally overall classification after leg 10
- 01. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (F/F), Mini, 28:12.00 Std.
- 02. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Toyota, 29:04.38 Std.
- 03. Leonid Novitzkiy/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS), Mini, 29:20.40 Std.
- 04. Nani Roma/Michel Périn (E/F), Mini, 29:46.04 Std.
- 05. Orlando Terranova/Paulo Fiuza (ARG/PRT), BMW, 30:10:49 Std.
Coming up: Preview Stage 11
(Connection: 256 km, special stage: 219 km, connection: 6 km)
Fiambalá – A true classic. To date every South American “Dakar” has featured this stage. Says Dirk von Zitzewitz: “Fiambalá is always the same. It’s an extremely difficult stage – and, depending upon weather, could get even tougher.” After taking in the so-called “Heart of Argentina” via numerous forestry sections and some fearsomely fast stages, the “Dakar” returns to sand dunes for the 11th leg. Despite the extremely sandy soil, the stage climbs to an altitude of over 2000 metres above sea level from the 75-kilometre point onwards – torturing both man and machine. However, before that point the crews need to master a labyrinth of canyons. After the mountainous dunes the route takes in a host of extremely rocky and steep dry riverbeds before a slightly less hectic section leads the crews through Argentinean Plateau and to the stage finish. Giniel de Villiers: “This leg is only 219 kilometres short, yet it is without doubt the most feared stage on the ‘Dakar’, and not only due to the extreme temperatures, which can easily reach 40 degrees Celsius.”
Three-O-One, in the driving seat: Giniel de Villiers
If awards were given out for versatility in motorsport, Giniel de Villiers would be a hot favourite to pick up the special prize for lifetime achievement. The likeable, down-to-earth racing driver from Stellenbosch in South Africa won five national touring car titles in South Africa, defeating his subsequent Team Principal in the Volkswagen works team Kris Nissen and other top European stars on the way, before switching to marathon rallying. Giniel de Villiers describes himself as an “outdoorsy person”, who loves being in the fresh air. Whether on a jet ski or a mountain bike, de Villiers is always looking for action. However, in both his sporting and private lives, intelligent discretion is one of the real hallmarks of “Ginny”. As such, his second career away from tarmacked roads and permanent racetracks has also been a distinguished one: together with his co-driver at the time, Tina Thörner (S), he finished second at the 2006 Dakar Rally with Volkswagen – a milestone, as this was at the time the highest place ever achieved by a pair in a diesel-powered vehicle. His big breakthrough came when the Dakar Rally made its debut outside of the Black Continent in 2009: with co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz at his side, the pair achieved a historic success: the first victory by an African, the first in a diesel car, and the first ever win in South America.
Three-O-One, calling the shots: Dirk von Zitzewitz
Dirk von Zitzewitz has literally been at home in the navigator’s seat since he took his first breath: the German was born in precisely the spot, in which he has enjoyed his greatest sporting success: in the passenger seat. The co-driver from Ostholstein is regarded as one of the best in his profession. In 2009, he and his driver Giniel de Villiers won the first “Dakar “ever to be held in South America. New territory? For Dirk von Zitzewitz, the terrain away from tarmacked roads is the perfect place to demonstrate his natural, instinctive talent for finding the right way. His success and reputation are no fluke: even as a teenager, Zitzewitz used to play “Dakar” with a friend and a rickety old moped. Back then, the event was still establishing itself and was yet to develop the international prestige it enjoys today. Despite this, it still cast a spell on the off-road enthusiast from north Germany. Dirk von Zitzewitz won the German Enduro Championship title on 15 occasions, before going on to compete in three “Dakars” on a motorbike. As a co-driver to a number of different drivers, he has competed in the mother of all desert rallies every year since 2002. In 2012 Zitzewitz came full circle: it was ten years since he made his first appearance in a car – again a privately run Toyota. In 2013 the De-Villiers-von-Zitzewitz-Toyota combination enters the next round. In the meantime, he has achieved great success: this is reflected in ten podiums – five of which were victories – 33 stage wins and 31 days leading events in a car. As such, Dirk von Zitzewitz is already one of the most successful co-drivers of all time on the marathon rally scene.
The “Dakar” on TV
Tuesday, 15th January 2013
18:30 Eurosport 2013 Dakar Rally, leg 10, interviews at the finish line (live)
Wednesday, 16th January 2013
19:45 Eurosport 2 2013 Dakar Rally, leg 11, interviews at the finish (live)
23:00 Eurosport 2013 Dakar Rally, leg 11, summary (re-run)
Thursday, 17th January 2013
19:30 Uhr Eurosport 2013 Dakar Rally, leg 12, interviews at the bivouac (live)
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