Wheels24

Giniel carries SA's Dakar hopes

2012-01-04 14:37

The South African Imperial Toyota team, the Overdrive Toyotas and the Toyota-powered Century Racing machine each enjoyed an outstanding third day of the 2012 Dakar.

Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz are third overall in the race, only 1min40 behind the leader. The Lucio Alavarez/Bernanardo Graue Hilux produced another strong run to secure eighth in the overall rankings. Duncan Vos, who has won four South African off-road titles, improved his overall position from 18th to 13th.

The rough and rocky, twisty sections suited the 4x4 T class vehicles and they proved to be more than a match for the unrestricted special vehicles.

TAKING ON THE ANDES

An encouraging feature of the race is that the V8 Hiluxes coped with the alitude (3400m above sea level) without noticeable loss of power. This could be vital in the next few days with the route crossing the Andes into Chile.

Wednesday's stage in the rally will be a 750km high-altitude dash to Chilecito.

A small lapse in concentration over the numerous canyons could have disastrous consequences and is required to get the competitors to the first killer dune stage, the run to Fiambala on January 6, 2012.

After 700km of racing the top three vehicles (a Mini, a Hummer-shelled special vehicle and a Toyota Hilux) are separated by 1m40, a testament to the skill of team's engineers and drivers.