Second in 2013! Three-O-One and its place in “Dakar” history
Santiago de Chile, 19th January 2013 Mr. and Mr. Reliable? Certainly. But also: Mr. and Mr. South America. Second overall! Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz have secured their place in the history books of the world’s toughest rally – the Dakar Rally. Five starts in Argentina, Chile and, now, Peru; four top-four placings – no other duo has achieved that in marathon rallying history. Their latest achievement, celebrated after an 8000-kilometre haul through Peru, Argentina and Chile, was once again a supreme demonstration of reliability: Three-O-One Style. Since 2007 “Ginny“ and “Schnietz“, as the solid South African driver and his cheerful German co-driver affectionately refer to each other, have contested “Dakar” events together. And, always made it to the finish. On this legendary desert rally, the ultimate two-week test of man and machine, reaching the finish can certainly not be taken for granted. With their “made in South Africa” Toyota Hilux, de Villiers and von Zitzewitz this year placed second to record-setting winners Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret, who started as rank favourites in the X-raid Mini. Where the winners came up to expectations, Three-O-One by far exceeded them by shading a host of more favoured entries.
Successful reliability: The Mastermind sits on the left. And right.
It’s their style. And it’s successful. Calculated risk equals perfect recipe – in the reliability stakes Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz are the benchmarks. Their 2009 Dakar Rally victory with Volkswagen was historic in many senses. In 2013 the Mastermind once again sat on the left: Giniel de Villiers, whose fully focussed and totally sympathetic style enables him to push his machinery to the limit, yet reach the finish. Another Mastermind sits on the right: Dirk von Zitzewitz, whose navigation skills enable him to instinctively follow the correct route, a crucial factor in their success. To set themselves realistic targets are further character traits common to both, and, again, a vital contributor to their remarkable performance on the latest edition of the “Dakar”.
Public darling that delivers: evolutionary “made in South Africa” Toyota Hilux
In 2009 Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz rang in the enduring era of diesel domination on the “Dakar”. In 2012 and 2013 they proved the potential of production-based four-stroke engines. Last year the South African-German duo celebrated the first podium place for a non-diesel since 2009. This year “Ginny” and “Schnietz” posted the best-ever result for a “Dakar” prototype powered by a petrol engine in the history of South American-based “Dakar” rallies. Their Toyota Hilux, developed and entered by Team Hallspeed on behalf of Toyota South Africa, had underwent wide-ranging evolution since last year: A production-based 5 litre V8 engine replaced the 4,7 litre version previously fitted to this off-road pick-up – endowing it with increased toque and power and providing the perfect combination for the toughest test in world motorsport despite an increase in the vehicle’s weight.
Sand, gravel, rocks – the toughest “Dakar” ever.
Never before has a Dakar Rally been as demanding from the start; never before have the sporting and technical challenges been as high as in 2013. Yet, from the opening day Three-O-One absorbed the varied terrain with ease. From start in Lima, Peru to finish in Santiago, Chile the route threw challenges such as low yet tricky dunes in southern Peru, towering examples made up of soft sand in Argentina, and Chile’s inhospitable Atacama Desert at the crews. Two Andes crossings took them over the 5000-metre altitude mark, while sweltering heat and torrential storms compounded the challenges of the 2013 Dakar Rally, one which Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz mastered with aplomb. In the process they scored a total of eleven of a possible 14 top-five stage results.
“Second place – that counts as victory for us! Last year we exceeded our expectations by far, and would never in our wildest dreams have believed that on the 2013 ‘Dakar’ we would better our third place from 2012. The competition this year was a lot stronger than in 2012. There were numerous candidates for victory; we were the underdogs. Our reliability enabled us to not only master the ‘Dakar’, but also made the decisive difference. Our three-year programme got off to a first-class start, and I am looking forward to next year, even if this ‘Dakar’ was extremely challenging.”
Giniel de Villiers after the 2013 Dakar Rally
“In a word: Wow! We could not have wished for more from this Dakar Rally. Second place – I would never have bet on it. However, our performance was the result of superb reliability, a strong car that has been carefully developed, and a super team. The saying “To finish first, you first have to finish” was originally coined in Formula 1, but it applies even more to the ‘Dakar’. I am incredibly proud of this result. Simply put: This ‘Dakar’ was challenging, but we were up to it.”
Dirk von Zitzewitz after the 2013 Dakar Rally
Results: Dakar Rally provisional overall classification
- 01. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (F/F), Mini, 38:32.39 Std.
- 02. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Toyota, 39:15.01 Std.
- 03. Leonid Novitzkiy/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS), Mini, 40:01.01 Std.
- 04. Nani Roma/Michel Périn (E/F), Mini, 40h 09m 22s
- 05. Orlando Terranova/Paulo Fiuza (ARG/PRT), BMW, 40:21.49 Std.
- 06. Carlos Sousa/Miguel Ramalho (PRT/PRT), Great Wall, 41:10.55 Std.
- 07. Ronan Chabot/Gilles Pilot (F/F), SMG, 41:50.44 Std.
- 08. Guerlain Chicherit/Jean-Pierre Garcin (F/F), SMG, 42:00.23 Std.
- 09. Pascal Thomasse/Pascal Larroque (F/F), Buggy MD Rallye, 43:08.11 Std.
- 10. Lucio Ezequiel Alvarez/Bernardo Rolando Graue (ARG/ARG), Toyota, 43:18.27 Std.
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 entered the next round. In the meantime, he has achieved great success: this is reflected in eleven 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
Sunday, 20th January 2013
00:00 Eurosport 2013 Dakar Rally, leg 14, summary (re-run)
Monday, 21th January 2013
00:00 Eurosport 2013 Dakar Rally, overall summary