Joy at the finish! “Ginny” and “Schnietz” move into second place overall
Córdoba, 14 January 2013 “Even on bad days you can be strong”: After the day’s finish in Córdoba, Giniel de Villiers could hardly have summarised the tenth day of the 2013 Dakar Rally better, for the ninth stage of the event had brought with it a maelstrom of emotions for the South African and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz before enabling this dynamic duo in the Toyota Hilux broke out in wide grins. In sequence…
Initially de Villiers/von Zitzewitz made a dream start to the “Dakar”’s second week. On the first section of the two-part, 593-kilometre ninth stage, the South African-German duo literally flew from one check point to the next, and seemed well on their way to secure their first stage win with the Three-O-One Toyota Hilux. Then they hit the cursed 500-kilometre mark: First the right front brake disc packed in, forcing “Ginny” to slow down. Shortly thereafter they suffered tyre damage, losing even more time.
Then, good news at the stage finish: Some of their closest opponents in the overall classification also suffered a challenging day or hit technical problems. Nasser Al-Attiyah and Lucas Cruz in a buggy, at the time in second place and within sight of Dakar favourites Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret in the X-raid-Mini, were thus affected. Al-Attiyah was forced to stop the buggy numerous times, in the process sliding well down the order and enabling de Villiers/von Zitzewitz to move into second place overall behind Peterhansel/Cottret.
“Puh, what a day. It had started super for us, but again proved the old adage: The Dakar is unpredictable. It was a challenging stage which pushed our equipment to the limit, but our Toyota Hilux handled it well and I am very satisfied. I am naturally happy that we are now in second place. Even on bad days you can be strong”
Giniel de Villiers after Stage 09
“At the beginning everything went well for us. Then on the second section a defective brake disc forced us to slow. Giniel kept a cool head and had the situation under control. The later tyre damage was simply bad luck. We gave it our all through to the finish in order to end the day on a positive note. Now we can look ahead, and are looking forward to the stage to La Rioja.“
Dirk von Zitzewitz after Stage 09
Result: Rallye Dakar overall classification after Stage 09
01. Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-Paul Cottret (F/F), Mini, 24:11.43 Std.
02. Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Toyota, 25:01.14 Std.
03. Leonid Novitzkiy/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS/RUS), Mini, 25:07.46 Std.
04. Nani Roma/Michel Périn (E/F), Mini, 25:45.59 Std.
05. Orlando Terranova/Paulo Fiuza (ARG/PRT), BMW, 26:12.51 Std.
Coming up: Preview Stage 10
(Link section: 37 km, Stage: 353 km, Link section: 243 km)
Superb roads, twisty with a hard surface – stages as typically found on the World Rally Championship. The surface of the tenth stage varies between gravel and sharp stones, with the route being similar to the stages to La Rioja in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Thus, hard work for the driver: Apart from engine power, the stage demands traction, stable braking and, above all, nerves. “The routes passes over hilly terrain and outcrops, through thick vegetation and between massive rocks,” says Dirk von Zitzewitz. But the stage holds good memories: “In 2009 we drove through here on our way to victory in formation with our then-team-mates Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford and Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk,” recalls Giniel de Villiers.
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 2013 the De-Villiers-von-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 rally scene.
The Dakar on TV
Monday, 14 January 2013
23:00 Eurosport 2013 Rallye Dakar, 9th Stage recording
Tuesday, 15 January 2013
18:30 Eurosport 2013 Rallye Dakar, 10th Stage, Live interviews at the finish (live)
Wednesday, 16th January 2013
19:45 Eurosport 2 2013 Rallye Dakar, 11th Stage, Live interviews at the finish (live)
23:00 Eurosport 2013 Rallye Dakar, 11th Stage recording
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