Rally Dakar Stage 1

5. Januar 2014

In at the deep end: unsteady start to “Dakar” for #302


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San Luis, 05 January 2014Just a few kilometres old, the “Dakar” has already shown just how relentless it can be: Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz ended day one of the 2014 back in 27th place, 15:57 minutes off the lead. A quick rhythm and a route resembling the kind of challenge usually found in the WRC – the toughest rally in the world put competitors to the test right from the word go, giving them no time to ease their way in. Warm-up? Not likely. Back in competition mode for the first time since the 2013 “Dakar”, “GdV” and “DvZ” took only calculated risks in the opening stages – as is their style. The first 180 of 5,522 kilometres of special stage took them over rocky surfaces, with the X-raid MINI team living up to its billing as hot favourites. However, three unscheduled stops prevented de Villiers/von Zitzewitz from remaining on a par with its direct rivals. The power assisted steering on the Hilux failed, due to a faulty gasket. Proof of what would have been possible in the Toyota Hilux “made in South Africa” without the unavoidable set-backs came in the form of Hallspeed team-mates Leeroy Poulter/Rob Howie, who came home ninth having previously led the stage.

The day’s route led from the start of the “Dakar” in Rosario to San Luis. Heading west towards the Andes, the terrain climbed consistently throughout the 180-kilometre special stage – reaching an altitude just above the 2,000-metre mark. The 2010 and 2011 rallies did tackle parts of the stage – but in reverse. The characteristics of the route? Similar to those of a special stage in the World Rally Championship. Giniel de Villiers had prepared for this very section of the “Dakar” by competing in sprint rallies in his home of South Africa.



“The ‘Dakar’ could hardly have got off to a worse start. Our power assisted steering failed after just 60 kilometres and we had to stop three times to top up with oil – until we ran out. It was the drive from hell for me, and my arms were absolutely exhausted. Oh well. Over the coming days we will try to gradually reel in the just-short-of 16 minutes we lost today. However, that will certainly not be easy.”
Giniel de Villiers after stage 01


„We knew that today would not be a warm-up, and that we would have to be wide awake right from the word go. However, we did not expect it to be quite such a difficult start. Given the problems we had, it actually went pretty well. All in all, however, it was a ‘Dakar’ start to forget. However, we were once over 40 minutes off the pace and still won in the end. The road to Valparaíso is still a very long one for everyone. We will now do our best to make up the time as intelligently as possible.“
Dirk von Zitzewitz after stage 01

Results: Dakar Rally overall classification after leg 01

01. Carlos Sousa/Miguel Ramalho (P/P), Haval, 2h 20m 36s
02. Orlando Terranova/Paulo Fiuza (RA/P), Mini, 2h 20m 47s
03. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Lucas Cruz (Q/E), Mini, 2h 21m 23s
04. Joan Roma/Michel Périn (E/F), Mini, 2h 21m 51s
05. Carlos Sainz/Timo Gottschalk (E/D), SMG, 2h 24m 39s
06. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (F/F), Mini, 2h 24m 57s
07. Krzysztof Hołowczyz/Konstantin Zhiltsov (PL/RUS), Mini, 2h 24m 57s
08. Christian Lavielle/Jean-Pierre Garcin (F/F), Haval, 2h 26m 18s
09. Leeroy Poulter/Rob Howie (ZA/ZA), Imperial Toyota, 2h 26m 33s
10. Erik van Loon/Wouter Rosegaar (NL/NL), Ford, 2h 26m 38s…
27. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Imperial Toyota, 2h 36m 33s


Coming up: Stage 02 preview

San Luis–San Rafael (liaison: 304 km, special stage: 433 km, liaison: 62 km)

The “Dakar” gets dirty – and dusty. The competitors in this year’s “Dakar” face the fastest special stage in the 2014 race. The organisers calculated the average speed at 115 km/h – few WRC rallies are that quick, although only the first section between San Luis and San Rafael is actually full-throttle. “You really need to put your foot down over the first 330 kilometres,” said Giniel de Villiers. “It is also extremely dusty, making overtaking virtually impossible.” However, the characteristics of the route change dramatically again for the remaining 100 kilometres – typical “Dakar”. The green dunes of Nihuil await the driving teams. Extremely steep gradients and a very high portion of vegetation resembling camel grass make it particularly difficult to cross these dunes. However, more dangers lurk behind the dunes: in many of the valleys between the dunes, the drivers will be faced with small lakes, which are extremely muddy. Anyone who gets too close to these lakes can expect a lengthy and unwelcome break.


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 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.


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 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.


The “Dakar” on TV


Sunday, 05 January 2014

23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 01. leg, highlights


Monday, 06 January 2014

00:15 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 01. leg, highlights

01:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 01. leg, highlights

08:30 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 01. leg, Sunday highlights (re-run)

10:00 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 01. leg, Sunday highlights (re-run)

13:00 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 01. leg, Sunday highlights (re-run)

23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 02. leg, highlights


Tuesday, 07 January 2014

00:15 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 02. leg, highlights

01:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 02. leg, highlights

09:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 02. leg, Monday highlights (re-run)

10:00 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 02. leg, Monday highlights (re-run)

13:00 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 02. leg, Monday highlights (re-run)

23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 03. leg, highlights

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