- Great finish for Toyota SA’s teams
- Second overall for Al Attiyah/Baumel
- Third overall for De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz
CORDOBA, Argentina – What a Dakar result for South African drivers and engineering! Toyota SA entries second and third in the overall standings – beating the best from the rest of the automotive world – and first and third on Saturday’s final stage.
Good news indeed among all the doom and gloom that is pervading South Africa right now. From Carman’s Corner…. bloody well done guys!
The closing Stage 14 finished with only 8min08 separating Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz in overall from Peugeot’s Stephane Peterhansel in fourth.
An elated De Villiers said at the end of the final stage, near Villa Carlos Paz in Argentina: “We always knew that Stephane was going to push on the last stage but making up eight minutes on such a fast WRC-style stage isn’t easy.
“At the same time we had to make sure we made no mistake – one slip could have cost us the podium.”
”At the end De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz,” Toyota told Carman’s Corner, ”did much more than simply keep their noses clean: the 2009 Dakar winners drove a faultless stage with their Toyota Hilux finishing 40sec ahead of Peterhansel to claim their first stage win of Dakar 2018.”
This meant that De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz retained their third overall while teammates Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel set the third-fastest time of the day, ONE SECOND behind Peterhansel.
‘A WIN IS ALWAYS SPECIAL’
Qatari driver Al-Attiyah added: “For us Dakar 2018 was extremely tough but we’re very happy to have finished second overall. We would have been happier with a win but to have two of our three cars on the podium is an amazing achievement,and we have every reason to be proud.”
De Villiers added: “It is always special to win a stage on the Dakar and this year we got a win right at the end – but more than that we brought the Toyota Hilux home on the podium, just behind our team mates Nasser and Mathieu.
‘What a fantastic feeling.”
The Dakar Rally remains one of the world’s toughest motor races and this year saw many new stages and innovations put in place by former Dakar winner, now the event’s sporting and assistant director, Marc Coma.
Some experts may argue that the race was too hard this year, especially in the beginning, where many private entries failed early in the event – but then the Dakar is meant to be tough.
The race crossed three countries on its 14 stages and more than 7000km after it started in the Peruvian capital, Lima, on January 6 2018.
STAGE 14 RESULTS
1 G de Villiers (Toyota) 1hr26min29
2 S Peterhansel (Peugeot) +0min40
3 N Al Attiyah (Toyota) +0min41
4 L Alvarez (Toyota) +0min43
5 P Van Merksteijn (Toyota) +2min06
OVERALL STANDINGS AFTER STAGE
1 C Sainz (Peugeot) 49hr16min18
2 N Al Attiyah (Toyota) +43min40
3 G De Villiers (Toyota) +1hr16min41
4 S Peterhansel (Peugeot) +1hr25min29
5 J Przygonski (Mini) +2hr45min24