Rally Dakar Stage 4

8. Januar 2014

De Villiers/von Zitzewitz remain sixth after epic stage


Chilecito, 08 January 2014 “Dakar” through and through – Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) have overcome the longest marathon within the marathon, proving their ability to improvise on the way. Despite technical problems, the South African/German duo came home seventh after the longest special stage of the Rally Dakar to tighten their grip on sixth place in the overall rankings. However, one cloud continues to rain on their parade: with the fifth leg between San Juan and Chilecito featuring 657 kilometres against the clock, the 2009 “Dakar” winners were forced to stop four times as a result of a recurrence of the steering problem that plagued them on day one, losing time on the leading group as a consequence. Given the degree of improvisation the pair had to show, the 25 minutes lost to today’s winner – their former team-mates Carlos Sainz/Timo Gottschalk (E/D, SMG buggy) – could have been much worse. “GdV” and “DvZ” were able to limit the damage thanks to spectators, who helped them out with oil.

The longest special stage in the South American era of the “Dakar” took the competitors in the car classification through numerous valleys, in which the co-drivers’ navigational skills were put to the test. The first part of the day led through the open desert and washed-out routes. After a 157-kilometre neutralisation zone, the cars headed through mountain passes and fast, stony sections on their way to Chilecito. It was a day for taking calculated risks – avoiding punctures without being too cautious was the order of the day.





“Today had a bit of everything that makes the ‘Dakar’ so special: challenging sections for the driver, testing navigation for the co-driver. It was hot, long, and a hard nut to crack – just the way Dirk and I love it. The split stage started fantastically and we made good progress. However, we had to fill up with oil for the power assisted steering again in the second section. If we had not had to stop four times, who knows what might have been possible. We are a bit disappointed today, as – apart from the steering problem – the performance of the Hilux is really good and we have been absolutely flawless so far.”

Giniel de Villiers after stage 04


“It is definitely frustrating. That special stage was tailor-made for us. We made our way through the competitors who set off in front of us really well, coped superbly with the dust, and did not have a single problem on the first section. The second part also began just as we would have hoped, but then the steering problems we encountered on day one returned. We had to stop four times, and actually ended up having to get oil from spectators. That obviously ruled out any chance of a good result today, and prevented us from making the progress we had hoped for in the overall standings. So be it. We will work with the team to try to get a handle on the problem with the steering. I remain confident that we will succeed, as the guys are doing an outstanding job. Tomorrow is a new day.”

Dirk von Zitzewitz after stage 04




Results: Dakar Rally overall classification after leg 04


01. Carlos Sainz/Timo Gottschalk (E/D), SMG, 14h 52m 47s

02. Joan Roma/Michel Périn (E/F), Mini, 14h 54m 53s

03. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Lucas Cruz (Q/E), Mini, 14h 59m 43s

04. Orlando Terranova/Paulo Fiuza (RA/P), Mini, 15h 05m 55s

05. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (F/F), Mini, 15h 10m 57s

06. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Imperial Toyota, 15h 31m 57s

07. Christian Lavielle/Jean-Pierre Garcin (F/F), Haval, 15h 39m 59s

08. Federico Villagra/Jorge Perez Companc (RA/RA), Mini, 15h 39m 59s


Coming up: Stage 05 preview

Chilecito–Tucumán (liaison: 154 km, special stage: 527, liaison: 231 km)

The Dakar competitors have another very long day ahead of them. The first car leaves Chilecito on the liaison stage at 06:03 – about 40 minutes before sunrise. It is then expected to arrive at the bivouac in San Miguel de Tucumán about twelve hours later, after a full day’s work. This twelve-hour shift features 416 kilometres against the clock, which promise to be even tougher than today’s special stage. The fifth stage is once again split, with the first section taking place on virgin territory for the “Dakar”. The short, very soft dunes awaiting the drivers are hard to overcome. The second part begins on a large, open plain with camel grass and soft, sandy ground. As the camel grass increases in height, the rest of the stage becomes really uneven. In 2013, some very high water was to be found in the river beds, which also form part of the route. This resulted in parts of the stage being cancelled. The weather could once again play a major role in 2014.



#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.




The “Dakar” on TV


Wednesday, 08 January 2014

23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 04th leg, highlights


Thursday, 09 January 2014

00:15 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 04th leg, highlights

01:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 04th leg, highlights

07:30 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 04th leg, Wednesday highlights (re-run)

09:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 04th leg, Wednesday highlights (re-run)

10:00 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 04th leg, Wednesday highlights (re-run)

11:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 04th leg, Wednesday highlights (re-run)

13:00 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 04th leg, Wednesday highlights (re-run)

23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 05th leg, highlights


Friday, 10 January 2014

00:15 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 05th leg, highlights

01:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 05th leg, highlights

09:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 05th leg, Thursday highlights (re-run)

10:00 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 05th leg, Thursday highlights (re-run)

13:00 hrs Eurosport2 2014 Dakar Rally, 05th leg, Thursday highlights (re-run)

23:00 hrs Eurosport 2014 Dakar Rally, 06th leg, highlights

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