Hello Chile! Three-O-One masters the Andes, Desert and Dunes
Copiapó, 17th January 2013 After an extremely demanding 2013 Dakar Rally stage which crossed the border between Argentina and Chile, Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz can give each other a deserved pat on the back. On the 13th “Dakar” day, the South African and his German co-driver mastered 319 stage kilometres featuring not only the event’s second crossing of the Andes, but the barren heat of the infamous Atacama Desert plus around 100 kilometres of extremely fine sand and loose dunes before reaching the finish. The reward for the 2009 “Dakar” winners: Yet another crucial step towards the “Dakar” finish in Santiago de Chile, a shortening of their deficit to leader Stéphane Peterhansel in the X-raid-Mini and simultaneous extension of their lead to 40:45 minutes over Nani Roma/Michel Périn, who displaced their X-raid-Mini team-mates Leonid Novitskiy/Konstantin Zhiltsov for third place.
De Villiers and von Zitzewitz enjoyed a trouble-free run on the twelfth “Dakar” stage “even if the route was tougher than we thought it would be”, as the former put it. The South African-German co-production made up good time on the key section, preventing Peterhansel from pulling further away. Currently a deficit of 50:21 minutes separates Three-O-One from the lead, with 569 stage kilometres still facing “Ginny”, “Schnietz” and their Toyota Hilux. Friday’s route to La Serena consists of a tough, 441-kilometre test. So the “Dakar” is far from over.
“We knew the twelfth stage would not be easy. However, it was even tougher than we had thought. We got stuck briefly on a dune, but hardly lost any time. We didn’t take risks, preferring to have a steady run, which our Toyota Hilux handled perfectly. It was a good Thursday for us.”
Giniel de Villiers after leg 12
“We were well prepared for the twelfth stage, and our preparations certainly paid off today. On Friday we face another tough test, which could be even tougher than today’s. Celebrations would be premature today, too much hinges on the 13th stage. But we are prepared.”
Dirk von Zitzewitz after leg 12
Results: Dakar Rally overall classification after leg 12
- 01. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (F/F), Mini, 32h 50m 02s
- 02. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Toyota, 33h 40m 23s
- 03. Nani Roma/Michel Périn (E/F), Mini, 34h 21m 08s
- 03. Leonid Novitzkiy/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS), Mini, 34h 24m 49s
- 05. Orlando Terranova/Paulo Fiuza (ARG/PRT), BMW, 34h 51m 52s
Coming up: Preview Stage 13
(Connection: 90 km, special stage: 441 km, connection: 204 km)
The final tough test of the 2013 Dakar Rally. Fast sections and tricky navigation open the stage, followed immediately by sand and the gigantic dunes of Copiapó. The 13th stage will certainly not be easy. It is never over until it’s over on the “Dakar”, and on the 2013 edition anything could still happen, although the finish in Santiago de Chile is now within reach. Giniel de Villiers: “A lot could still happen here. The ‘Dakar’ is not over. Maximum concentration is demanded, otherwise it is all too easy to get lost in the valleys or get stuck in the soft dune sand.” The second part of the stage is no easier: extremely hard, uneven surfaces and rocky, dry riverbeds will once again push man and machine to the limit. The final control brings with it relief: Santiago is even closer.
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
Friday, 18th January 2013
00:00 Eurosport 2013 Dakar Rally, leg 12, summary (re-run)
18:45 Eurosport 2013 Dakar Rally, leg 13, interviews at the finish (live)
23:00 Eurosport 2013 Rallye Dakar, leg 13, summary (re-run)
Saturday, 19th January 2013
18:45 Eurosport 2 2013 Dakar Rally, leg 14, interviews at the finish (live)
Sunday, 20th January 2013
00:00 Eurosport 2013 Dakar Rally, leg 14, summary (re-run)
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