|SA-Dakar Rally: De Villiers private goal looks achievable under own steam.|
Time to keep it all together. With only three stages to go, all three South African Toyota Hilux's are in the Top 10, with Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in 3rd place. On thursday´s stage Giniel finished 4th, Duncan Vos 9th and Lucio Alvarez 10th. As on previous days, the Imperial Toyota's ran like clockwork, making their music across the desert without any major mechanical trouble.
Ahead of the final stages, of which Friday is regarded by the drivers and co-drivers as by far the toughest, De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz also defended their position against its closest rival - Leonid Novitskiy in the Mini. The private goal - 5th place overall - still looks achievable under their own steam.
"I don't think I've ever seen so much fesh fesh sand in my life" reported Giniel de Villiers. "That made the journey extremely difficult, because it was very slippery on this powder sand and there were a lot of rocks at the side of the route, which we could have hit at any time."
"On top of that, there were some really steep exits from river beds, which could not be taken lightly. A great intermediate result. But it is just an intermediate result. Nothing has been decided yet."
Dir von Zitzewitz said: "What a tough day on the Dakar - our premiere in Peru was anything but easy. It was particularly tough for the material today and even my two mileage counters stopped working. I had to improvise a lot with the navigation. We also broke a wheel rim today - it is a great relief to have arrived at the finish."
"We have to be more than happy with the intermediate result. To be honest, it is fantastic. Although we have achieved a lot, however, we have not yet won anything. We must first survive the extremely tough stages that still await us" added the German.
In view of how rough the last two stages were, last night was a long night for the mechanics to prepair the cars. Teamchef Glyn Hall gave the boys a pep-talk in the bivouac tonight, impressing upon them the magnitude of finishing in the current positions, urging them to give one last big push to the end, giving the drivers the best equipment they are capable of.
There is no shortage of support in the bivouac tonight as a number of South African off-road racing competitors, including commission chairman, Richard Schilling, joined up with the crew today for the final run home. Removed from the limelight, the 508 Hino of Tehiro Sugawara and Seiichi Suzuki is currently lying in 12th place in the T4 class after a 9th place on today's stage.
2012/01/13 | 14:45 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/FORTUNE