After their elevation to second place overall on the Dakar Rally on Monday, Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz managed to consolidate their impressive overall position on the event’s tenth leg. Having started the day with an advantage of 6:32 minutes over their closest rivals, Leonid Novitskiy and Konstantin Zhiltsov in an X-raid-Mini, the South African and his German co-driver even managed to extend the cushion en route to the day’s final control in La Rioja. The duo driving the Toyota Hilux is currently 16:02 minutes ahead of their third placed rivals, and have a deficit of 52:38 minutes to overall leaders Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean-Paul Cottret, also driving a Mini.
After the leg’s start in Córdoba and a short link section, the route took in 353 competitive kilometres consisting of mainly high-speed sections more reminiscent of World Rally Championship stages before reaching La Rioja. The 2009 winners demonstrated consistency in their Toyota Hilux, with the South Africa-German crew recording top four times at each of the day’s way points. It proved a day they could be totally satisfied with, particularly as the twelfth “Dakar” day, which ends in Fiambalá, takes in classic stages through the region’s sand dunes. Full concentration will once again be demanded.
“After our exciting Monday we enjoyed a comparatively quiet day today. It was a good feeling, particularly as tomorrow sees us head into the dunes around Fiambalá. Although we were slightly hampered by Robby Gordon’s dust today, we are pleased we managed to extend the gap to third place. It gives us good rearward cover.” Giniel de Villiers
“We are extremely satisfied with today. Navigation was comparatively simple, so we were able to drive consistently through the stage. We know the 11th stage to Fiambalá well, so we are very optimistic, and aim to post another good performance on Wednesday. We also have a good starting position, which makes it a lot easier.” Dirk von Zitzewitz