|Dakar Rally 2014: SA´s Giniel de Villiers among five former Champions|
The 2014 Dakar Rally in South America is a little over four weeks away and the release of the entry list and start numbers confirms that the Toyota Imperial South Africa Team of Giniel de Villiers / Dirk von Zitzewitz and Leeroy Poulter / Rob Howie are in the company of the world´s top rally raid teams as they take on the world´s longest and toughest cross country race.
There are five former champions at the top of the start order, including De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz, who won the first South American version of the Dakar in 2009 and will carry #302 on their Toyota Imperial Hilux. They finished a remarkable second in this year´s Dakar Rally after claiming third place in Toyota Motorsport South Africa´s first attempt in 2012.
Leading the field from the start in Rosario, Argentina on January 5 will be defending champions Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret of France in a X-raid Mini All4 Racing. Next away will be Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar and Spanish co-driver Lucas Cruz, winners in 2011, who will be also in a Mini.
De Villiers, competing in his 11th Dakar, and Von Zitzewitz will start third ahead of 2010 winner Carlos Sainz of Spain and German co-driver Timo Gottschalk in a an French SMG buggy. Spaniard Nani Roma, winner of the 2004 bike category before switching to cars, and French co-driver Michel Perrin will start fifth in a X-raid Mini.
Dakar rookie Poulter and Howie, competing in his third Dakar after finishing 10th with Duncan Vos in his rookie year in 2011, will start in 23rd position in the second Toyota Imperial Hilux.
South African privateers Thomas Rundle and Juan Mohr, who earned a free entry into the rally when they won the Dakar Challenge in this year´s "Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana", will start 103rd in their first Dakar in the ex-Toyota Motorsport Hilux in which De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz finished second this year. They will carry #404.
2013/12/03 | 22:01 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/JACKSON