Lima, Peru There are memories that stay with you for ever – such as the 2009 Dakar Rally, when Giniel de Villiers (Stellenbosch, South Africa) and Dirk von Zitzewitz (Karlshof, Germany) achieved a notable victory, thereby heralding the beginning of a new era in the world’s toughest rally. It was the rally’s first outing in South America, the first time an African triumphed in this legendary cross-country motorsport event, and the first win for a diesel car too. And highly developed diesel cars have continued to dominate the event ever since. But in the 2012 Dakar Rally, this victorious duo of yesteryear and their new, private Imperial Toyota team began to chip away at the supremacy of the prototypes with typical racing engines, indicating the shape of things to come in the world of cross-country rallying by surprisingly clinching third place in an inferior V8 Hilux fitted with a production-based engine developed for future Dakar rallies. This result is as notable as their 2009 victory and clearly deserves to figure prominently when they look back on their careers. The 2009 Dakar victory forged a strong bond between “Ginny” and “Schnietz”, as they like to call each other. And their outstanding surprise success in the 2012 Dakar Rally has the potential to be a historical turning point in the careers of this amicable driver/co-pilot duo, who aren’t afraid to start from scratch. Theirs is a relationship founded on friendship and respect.

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