Number 13, Fortune and Feelings:
Emotional Dakar start for Three-O-One
Pisco, 05 January 2013. Rank outsider for the bookies; favourite for thousands of fans: South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz made a solid start to the 2013 Dakar Rally in front of a massive crowd. On the opening stage of the legendary desert rally, the Toyota Hilux wearing number Three-O-One occupied ninth place, with the numbers three and 13 taking centre stage: The day’s run between the two Peruvian towns of Lima and Pisco included a spectacular and extremely popular stage of ‘only’ 13 kilometres, but in true “Dakar” style it demanded maximum concentration due to the extremely sandy conditions and dunes so typical of the “Dakar”, with the actual time recorded being multiplied by a factor of three. The day presented the competitors with two distinctly different facets: In Lima they faced a ceremonial start in front of thousands of excited fans; after 250 kilometres of open section winding along the Pacific coast they contested a competitive stage on the outskirts of Pisco – once again to the joy of enormous crowds.
Betting that…? 13:1 for the Underdog
Dark horse say some; rank outsider say others: As per last year, Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz will tackle the 2013 Dakar Rally, a tough endurance test taking in a route of almost 9,000 kilometres through Peru, Argentina and Chile, with an evolutionary ‘made in South Africa’ Hilux entered and prepared for Toyota South Africa by Hallspeed. The bookmakers see the duo as outsiders: For every sum placed on Three-O- One for a win, leading sports betting operations will pay out 13 times the wagered amount in the event of unexpected victory. That other teams are the favourites is reflected in their odds: Serial winners Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret and their winning X-raid-Mini from last year are ranked at 2:1.
“An emotional and good start to the Dakar Rally. The enthusiasm of fans in South America simply knows no bounds. Regardless of whether one is somewhere on the Dakar route or in the bivouacs, the mood is one of real festivity. The ceremonial start is also very special and exciting, with today being no exception. It was a lot of fun to start the rally under such cheerful circumstances. Today’s programme included only a short stage before the ‘Dakar’ starts in real earnest. Dirk and I are really looking forward to that.”
Giniel de Villiers before the Dakar start.
“Today allowed very little opportunity for tactics. Traditionally short stages such as todays do not decide the outcome of the event, so the teams are usually careful. However, the factor three as applied to the actual time naturally changed that considerably. Thus it was crucial to remain focussed and not make mistakes while driving close to the limit. I think we managed to strike a good balance, and also used the opportunity to find the right rhythm for the rest of the ‘Dakar’.”
Dirk von Zitzewitz after leg 01
Result: 2013 Dakar Rally overall classification after leg 01
01. Carlos Sainz/Timo Gottschalk (E/D), Buggy, 23.00 Min.
02. Lucio Alvarez/Bernardo Graue (RA/RA), Toyota, 23.24 Min.
03. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Lucas Cruz (Q/E), Buggy, 23.30 Min.
03. Guerlain Chicherit/Jean-Pierre Garcin (F/F), SMG, 23.30 Min.
05. Ronan Chabot/Gilles Pillot (F/F), SMG, 23.36 Min.
06. Krzysztof Hołowczyz/Filipe Palmeiro (PL/P), Mini, 24.42 Min.
06. Leonid Novitzkiy/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS), Mini, 24.42 Min.
06. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (F/F), Mini, 24.42 Min.
09. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Toyota, 24.45 Min.
10. Joan “Nani” Roma/Michel Périn (E/F), Mini, 24.51 Min.
Looking ahead: preview of leg 02
Pisco–Pisco (Open section: 85 km, Stage: 243 km)
Partly virgin territory, partly known sections await the competitors on the 2013 Rallye Dakar on the second day: As per last year a lot of sand and the first real dunes are on the agenda – although then they marked the end of the world’s toughest rally desert, whereas in 2013 they act as warm-up for what lies ahead. “Joy and pain are seldom far apart on the sand dunes,” says Giniel de Villiers. “That is why we cannot underestimate this stage, and need to make every single second count.” Co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz concurs entirely, particularly as the 243 kilometre-long stage includes two dune ranges: “I am reckoning on a difficulty rating of medium for both drivers and co-drivers. However, it will be vital to keep one’s wits about one and simultaneously prepare for the next day, when it really starts in earnest. ”
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