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Dakar Rally 2013: Toyota´s De Villiers and Alvarez hold 2nd & 7th after SS02.





South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers and Argentina’s Lucio Alvarez set the second and seventh times on the second loop stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally around Pisco in Peru and now hold similar positions in the overall standings in their Toyota Hiluxes.

On Sunday, competitors used an 85km liaison section to take them to the start of the 242km special stage at Ocucaje. The special featured numerous low-lying sand dune crossings around the Pisco bivouac. One hundred and fifty-two of the original 153 starters began the stage, which was shortened by 2.5km and passed through the Ica region, which was devastated by an earthquake in August 2007.

De Villiers started well in his Toyota Imperial South Africa Team Hilux and overcame a difficult dune passing after 75km to hold the virtual third fastest stage time at the third waypoint behind the French duo of Stéphane Peterhansel and Ronan Chabot.

That tricky sand dune at the 75km point cost several of the front-runners valuable time and De Villiers found himself running near the front of the field from then on. Peterhansel held on to take the stage win, with De Villiers finishing second and Chabot taking third position.

Alvarez and co-driver Ronnie Graue were the best placed of the six Overdrive Toyotas and now hold seventh in the overall standings, but there were delays for rivals Carlos Sainz, Joan Roma, Robbie Gordon and Guerlain Chicherit.

"It was a good stage for me today and we were running well up with Carlos and Nasser (Al-Attiyah), but I lost some time with two punctures," said Alvarez.

The Polish duo of Adam Malysz and Szymon Ruta - partnered by their respective co-drivers Rafal Marton and Laurent Lichtleuchter - finished the special stage in 25th and 37th places and now hold 23rd and 36th in the overall standings. Ruta suffered gear selection problems and finished the stage in second gear and Malysz got stuck in soft sand for around 30 minutes, which spoiled his run.

Australian Geoff Olholm and British co-driver Jonathon Aston slipped from 22 nd overall to 24th in the Cairns Coconut Resort-supported Toyota after setting the 26th quickest time on the second stage.

Venezuelans Nunzio Coffaro and Daniel Meneses began the special stage from 146th overall after their electrical problems in the Team Azimut Toyota on the opening stage. It was not easy to battle their way through back-markers and the South Americans were driving superbly through the stage and held a virtual 29th at the sixth waypoint and had climbed back towards the top 50.

South African Duncan Vos and co-driver Robert Howie rolled the second Toyota Imperial South Africa car in the stage, but the Hilux landed back on its wheels and the crew were able to finish the stage in 13th place in the overall standings.

"It’s just good to get the rally underway and see all our drivers performing well on the stage," said Overdrive team principal Jean-Marc Fortin. "Now we can look forward to the next stage to Nazca and the onset of even more difficult stages."

2013/01/07 | 10:03 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/PERKINS











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