Dakar 2014 update: Stage Nine
Stage nine of the 2014 Dakar Rally proved to be a difficult one for Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz (Imperial Toyota Hilux).
Starting in seventh place, the duo finished the 422km stretch in fifth, thanks to roughed up terrain causing two punctures along the way.
They ended 22m 57s behind stage winners and defending champions Stéphane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret of France (Mini) and dropped two places to joint fourth position.
Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar and Spanish co-driver Lucas Cruz were second (2m 17s), Nani Roma of Spain and Michel Perin of France in a Mini were third (+11m 36s) and fourth were Argentine Orlando Terranova and Portuguese co-driver Paulo Fiuza in another Mini (+14m 14s).
The 2009 champions lost 11m 21s to overall race leaders Roma and Perin with four stages remaining and are now 59m 46s in arrears. Also ahead of them are Peterhansel/Cottret, (+12m 10s), Terranova and Fiuza (Mini) +54m 33s and former champions Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar and Spanish co-driver Lucas Cruz (Mini) +59m 46s.
Toyota Imperial team-mate Leeroy Pouter and co-driver Rob Howie experienced the cruel side of the Dakar. After starting 29th on the road and 28th overall following a good performance on stage eight, they dropped five places in the general classification after a roll and a lengthy delay to receive attention from their assistance truck saw them complete the stage in 53rd place, 4h 09m 48s in arrears.