Team Imperial Toyota in Dakar Rally onslaught

Dakar Toyota 2

The Dakar rally which is currently underway in Peru has proved to be tough for competitors in challenging conditions. South Africa’s Team Imperial Toyota with Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz taking advantage of a trouble-free second stage in their Imperial Toyota Hilux to claim second place, 2 minutes 35 seconds behind 2012 champions Stephane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret of France (MINI). Third place is currently held by SMG of France, piloted by Ronan Chabot and Gilles Pillot.

“Today’s special stage was more difficult than we expected. It was very hot – 40 degrees Centigrade outside and 60 degrees in the car. Navigation was tricky, especially with the sun making it difficult to see the tops of the dunes,” reported De Villiers. “So I didn’t go very fast in the first part of the stage, but then things got better. At the end we’re happy because the Hilux is working well and we didn’t have any problems. This is a good sign for the next few days, which should be very difficult."

??Tough Driving Conditions for Team Imperial Toyota

??Toyota Motorsport team-mates Duncan Vos and Rob Howie are currently in 13th place overall after rolling their Imperial Toyota Hilux while cresting a dune too fast. The pair was able to continue immediately after the Hilux landed on its wheels and are currently 22 minutes 40 seconds behind the leaders.

Vos commented, “The day didn’t go according to plan. We struggled to climb a tall sand dune and on the third attempt we carried too much speed and crested the dune too fast, with the Hilux rolling end over end. Luckily it landed on its wheels and we lost very little time as we were able to continue straight away. It was extremely hot and there were many, many dunes. Overall we felt much better than last year, but the next couple of days are going to be very tough for everyone. We have to maintain a high level of concentration and keep pushing."

Dakar Rally – Stage 3

Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally will take place from Pisco to Nazca and includes a 100km liaison section before reaching the 243km special stage. A sequence of dunes called Ergs in Africa awaits the drivers and will prove to be a tough challenge for all the competitors. The second half of the special stage will include a route along the coast with tracks at the end of the stage which will require skill and vigilance to navigate.

Stage 3 of the Dakar Rally starts at 5:11 PM (SA time) on Monday 7 January 2013.