Quiet after the storm – Three-O-One continues successful Dakar run
Tucumán, 12 January 2013 Whether rain or storm – the underdogs remain in top form: Giniel de Villiers
and Dirk von Zitzewitz carry their third place overall, which they assumed on the fourth day of the world’s
toughest rally and have successfully defended ever since, over into the Rest Day. On the eighth, twiceshortened
stage of the „Dakar“, scheduled do run from Salta in northern Argentina to San Miguel de
Tucumán, the South African-German duo in their „made in South Africa“ Toyota Hilux recorded the sixthfastest
time. Altitudes well above sea-level, deep sand and stony terrain – all these formed part of this virgin
Dakar territory, and in torrential rain to boot: De Villiers and von Zitzewitz put in a solid performance in the
difficult conditions to finish the first Dakar week 41.54 minutes adrift of overall leaders Nasser Al-
Attiyah/Lucas Cruz in a buggy. However, the day’s starring role belonged not to the top drivers fighting it out
for podium places, but to the weather.
Torrential rain forced the A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation), the organisers of the Dakar Rally, to cancel
the first half of the day’s two-part stage. The World Rally Championship-like gravel roads between Salta and
Tucumán had softened too much in the rain. A new liaison section was substituted, and after a delayed start
the competing motorcycles, quads and cars set off on what had been scheduled as a 183-kilometre timed
stage. However, this was neutralised at the 86-kilometre point – a river crossing had flooded after torrential
rain, and could not be traversed under competition conditions.
„The stage went well for us, because we were able to temporarily overtake Nasser Al-Attiyah when he
suffered a puncture. Then we reached a river which was totally flooded, so much so that it proved impossible
to cross. We then heard from the organisers that the results would be taken as at CP2, and the rest of the
stage neutralised. A pity, as we had a good run, and would probably have been able to make up a bit more
time by the end.“
Giniel de Villiers ahead of the Rest Day
„Today the weather played a prank on us competitors, not only because the first part of the stage was
cancelled, but also because in the second part a river crossing was totally flooded. A tidal wave must have hit the place shortly before we arrived, and although we sought an alternative route, we were unable to find
one. We then called the organisers, only to be told that the stage had been neutralised. Now we have a rest
day before starting the second half of the Dakar Rally with renewed strength.“
Dirk von Zitzewitz ahead of the Rest Day
Results: Dakar Rally overall classification after leg 08
- 01. Nasser Al-Attiyah/Lucas Cruz (Q/E), Buggy, 17:59.07 Std.
- 02. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (F/F), Mini, 18:01.06 Std.
- 03. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Toyota, 18:41.01 Std.
- 04. Leonid Novitzkiy/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS), Mini, 18:48.58 Std.
- 05. Guerlain Chicherit/Jean-Pierre Garcin (F/F), Buggy, 19:05.16 Std.
Coming up: Preview Rest Day
Rest Day – this Dakar term is a bit of a misnomer. True, neither support crews nor competitors turn a wheel
on the day, but it is far from a „rest“ day on the Dakar. Both drivers and co-drivers face non-stop interviews
throughout – Sunday is a true Media Marathon. For the mechanics the day marks the most laborious day of
the entire event, with the cars being totally stripped, checked in detail and all wear parts replaced. In the
evening, after a successful roll-out they will again be stamped „Dakar Ready“ by their teams. Just in time, too
– the stage after the Rest Day is traditionally one of the toughest on this desert classic.
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 codriver
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 2013 the De-Villiersvon-
Zitzewitz-Toyota combination enters the next round. In the meantime, he has achieved great success:
this is reflected in ten 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
„Dakar“ on TV
Saturday, 12 January 2013
23:00 hrs Eurosport 2013 Dakar Rally, leg 08, summary
Sunday, 13 January 2013
01:30 hrs Eurosport 2013 Dakar Rally, leg 08, summary (re-run)
23:00 hrs Eurosport 2013 Dakar Rally, rest day, summary
Monday, 14 January 2013
19:00 hrs Eurosport 2013 Dakar Rally, leg 09, interviews at the finish line (live)
23:00 hrs Eurosport 2013 Dakar Rally, leg 09, summary