“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.
Initially de Villiers/von Zitzewitz made a dream start to the “Dakar”’s second week. On the first section of the two-part, 593km 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 500km mark: First the right front brake disc packed in, forcing Giniel 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
“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