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Six weeks to 'off' for '13 Dakar

2012-11-26 22:14

FLASHBACK TO 2012: Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz at the 2012 'Dakar' Rally. Image: DPPI

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The 2013 'Dakar' Rally in South America is just six weeks away and the release of the entry list and start numbers confirms that the Toyota SA Team of Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz and Duncan Vos/Rob Howie will be in the company of the world’s top rally raid teams.

They’ll be taking on the world’s longest and toughest off-road race...

Four champions will be the top of the start order, among them Villiers and Zitzewitz who won the first South American version of the 'Dakar' in 2009 and will carry the number 301 on their Hilux. They finished third in the 2012 race at Toyota Motorsport’s first attempt.

EIGHT SA BAKKIES

Leading the field from the start in Lima, Peru on January 5 will be 2011 champion Nasser al-Attiyah of Qatar and Spanish co-driver Lucas Cruz in an American V8 Buggy (#300). Villiers, competing in his 10th Dakar, and Zitzewitz will be followed by 2012 winners Stephane Peterhansel/ Jean Paul Cottret of France in a Mini (#302) and 2010 winner Carlos Sainz of Spain and German co-driver Timo Gottschalk in a second American buggy (#303).

Vos and Howie, who did well to finish 10th in the 2012 Dakar at their first attempt, will carry #312 on their Hilux. Vos has just wrapped up the 2012 SA Off-Road championship (his fifth win) and Howie claimed his first co-driver title in their 'Dakar' Hilux.

Eight SA-built Hilux double-cabs developed by Toyota Motorsport and assembled in the team’s Kyalami (Johannesburg) workshops under the direction of team principal Glyn Hall will contest the nearly 9000km, 15-day race through Peru, Argentina and Chile.

AUSSIE OVERDRIVE

Four have been entered by Belgium's Team Overdrive managed by South African Scott Abraham. Lucio Alvarez/Ronnie Graue of Argentina, fifth in the 2012 'Dakar' in a South Africa Hilux, will start seventh. Peter van Merksteijn (Netherlands)/Eddy Chevailleur (Belgium) will start 27th, Adam Malysz/Rafal Marton (Poland) will start 37th and Szymon Ruta (Poland)/Laurent Lichtleuchter (France) will start 40th.

Two more will be in the hands of Team Overdrive customer teams from Australia and Venezuela. Aussie Geoffrey Olholm/Briton Jonathan Aston will crew one, South Americans Nunzio Coffaro/Daniel Meneses the other.

The 35th 'Dakar' has attracted 471 entrants: 195 motorcycles, 160 cars, 76 trucks and 40 quads from 53 nationalities whose progress over the 14 days and 14 stages (4200km) of competition (there’ll be a rest day in San Miguel de Tucuman in Argentina on January 13) will be reported by an army of journalists and photo/videographers and will be televised daily to more than five-million people in 190 countries.

The rally will start in the Peruvian capital, Lima,Peru, on the Pacific coast of South America and finish in Santiago, Chile on January 19. The podium ceremony will be on January 20.

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