After an extremely demanding 2013 Dakar Rally stage which crossed the border between Argentina and Chile, Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz mastered 319 stage kilometres featuring not only the event’s second crossing of the Andes, but the barren heat of the infamous Atacama Desert plus around 100km of extremely fine sand and dunes before reaching the finish. The reward for the 2009 “Dakar” winners: Yet another crucial step towards the “Dakar” finish in Santiago de Chile, a shortening of their deficit to leader Stéphane Peterhansel in the X-raid-Mini and simultaneous extension of their lead to 40:45 minutes over Nani Roma/Michel Périn, who displaced their X-raid-Mini team-mates Leonid Novitskiy/Konstantin Zhiltsov for third place.
De Villiers and von Zitzewitz enjoyed a trouble-free run on the twelfth “Dakar” stage “even if the route was tougher than we thought it would be”, as the former put it. The pair made up good time on the key section, preventing Peterhansel from pulling further away. Currently a deficit of 50:21 minutes separates Three-O-One from the lead, with 569 stage kilometres still facing “Ginny”, “Schnietz” and their Toyota Hilux. Friday’s route to La Serena consists of a tough, 441-kilometre test. So the “Dakar” is far from over.
“We knew the twelfth stage would not be easy. However, it was even tougher than we had thought. We got stuck briefly on a dune, but hardly lost any time. We didn’t take risks, preferring to have a steady run, which our Toyota Hilux handled perfectly. It was a good Thursday for us.” Giniel de Villiers
“We were well prepared for the twelfth stage, and our preparations certainly paid off today. On Friday we face another tough test, which could be even tougher than today’s. Celebrations would be premature today, too much hinges on the 13th stage. But we are prepared.” Dirk von Zitzewitz