Rest day at the “Dakar” gives #302 chance to take stock
Salta, 11 January 2014 So, what of the sporting action at the Rally Dakar? Well, week one has provided enough stories to fill XXL editions and thick supplements. Seldom has the toughest motorsport marathon in the world been more eventful, or drama alternated more frequently with moments of glory, than at the 2014 “Dakar”. Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz are currently fourth overall with the #302 Imperial Toyota Hilux. The car has been pushed to its limits, while the driver and co-driver have produced a flawless display. Thanks to their invaluable ability to improvise, “GdV” and “DvZ” remain within striking distance of the top three. Project Podium is right on track.
Facts from the first week of the “Dakar”.
Did you know …
… Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz are “best of the rest” after week one of the “Dakar”? The three cars ahead of them all belong to the works-assisted X-raid Mini team.
… Nelson Mandela is on board with “GdV” and “DvZ”? The South African and the German have attached a photo of the freedom fighter, who passed away recently, on the rear wall of the cockpit.
… not a single one of the top teams has come through the first week of the 2014 “Dakar” without making a mistake or running into difficulty? Navigational errors here, stuck in sand there. And all the teams in the top ten have battled with technical issues. De Villiers/von Zitzewitz struggled with hydraulic problems that took the power assisted steering and jack out of action, as well as their brakes overheating. The causes of all these problems have been determined and resolved.
… week two of the “Dakar” features a further 2,901 kilometres of special stage – more than half of the total distance?
… two special stages were reduced in length due to poor weather in the first half of the Rally Dakar?
… some weather stations in Chile’s Atacama Desert, which takes centre stage in week two, have never recorded any rain? Mathematically speaking, the Atacama is 100 times drier than Death Valley.
… on the link sections Dirk von Zitzewitz decides on the choice of music piped through the intercom system via an MP3 player. However, his driver has one stipulation: That Johnny Cash songs be on the playlist.
… Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz converse in English in the cockpit – despite it being a foreign language to both – but fall back on Afrikaans or German should the need arise? The instructions “left” and “right” – said “links” and “rechts” respectively – are virtually identical in either language.
… Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz have shared marathon rally cockpits since 2006? After de Villiers finished second on the 2006 Dakar Rally with Tina Thörner in a Volkswagen Race Touareg, they formed a duo, and have to date scored ten podiums, five of which were victories. Their most important win: The 2009 Dakar.
… last year de Villiers/von Zitzewitz spent almost 150 days together, and prepared for the 2011 Dakar by undertaking mountain bike tours and stringent fitness programmes in South Africa?
… both are real fun people? One of Giniel de Villiers’s favourite sayings is “Life is too short to drink cheap wine.” By contrast, Dirk von Zitzewitz is a vintage whisky connoisseur.
… Dirk von Zitzewitz won the German Enduro Masters title fifteen times on a motorcycle?
… Dirk von Zitzewitz grew up in Karlshof, Ostholstein, and still lives there with wife Sabine and Peanuts, the family dog?
Results: Dakar Rally overall classification after leg 06
01. Joan Roma/Michel Périn (E/F), Mini, 22h 11m 28s
02. Orlando Terranova/Paulo Fiuza (RA/P), Mini, 22h 41m 58s
03. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (F/F), Mini, 22h 44m 51s
04. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Imperial Toyota, 22h 52m 22s
05. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Lucas Cruz (Q/E), Mini, 23h 34m 03s
06. Carlos Sainz/Timo Gottschalk (E/D), SMG, 24h 11m 06s
Coming up: Stage 07 preview
Salta–Salta (liaison: 114, special stage: 533, liaison: 166 km)
Break is over, back to work. Organiser the A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation) has never been known to give competitors an easy stage to ease their way back into the action after a rest day. And 2014 is no exception. The loop around Salta will be a challenging one and will require the competitors to adapt to quick changes in rhythm. The start takes them over sharp stones, before the cars head into a top-speed section – and all at an average altitude of 3,500 metres above sea level. Not exactly ideal terrain for petrol-driven cars. This stage definitely favours the diesels.
#302, 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 Rally Dakar 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 Rally Dakar 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.
#302, 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 2014 the De-Villiers-von-Zitzewitz-Toyota combination enters the third 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.
Second week of “Dakar” on TV
Sunday, 12 January 2014
00:15 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, rest day (re-run)
01:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, rest day (re-run)
23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 07th leg, highlights
Monday, 13 January 2014
23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 08th leg, highlights
Tuesday, 14 January 2014
00:15 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 08th leg, highlights (re-run)
23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 09th leg, highlights
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 10th leg, highlights
Thursday, 16 January 2014
23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 11th leg, highlights
Friday, 17 January 2014
23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 12th leg, highlights
Saturday, 18 January 2014
23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 13th leg, highlights
Sunday, 19 January 2014
23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, highlights