All the hard work and preparation paid off yesterday afternoon, as Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz placed second overall in the 2013 Dakar Rally.
The stage, and this year’s rally, ended in Santiago, Chile, and the duo have improved by a place on their third podium spot from last year. They’ve also won the T1.1 class for petrol-powered 4×4 improved cross-country vehicles for the second time. The team finished 42 minutes behind Stephane Peterhansel and co-driver Paul Cottret in their Mini, who have been dominating this year’s rally from the start. After much chasing, the Russian duo of Leonid Novitskiy and Konstantin Zhiltsov couldn’t make it past the South African Hilux, and placed third overall, 46 minutes behind De Villiers.
The Imperial Toyota Hilux was put through 14 special stages of over 4000 km, crossing the Andes twice at altitudes over 4km. The final stage was only 128 km long, and very fast paced. It took place between La Serena and Santiago, and was won by Roma and Perin, who were also nipping at the Toyota team’s heels in their Mini. Terranova and Fiuza in their BMW X3 finished the stage in second place, with Alvarez and Graue in another SA built Hilux right behind them, and De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz in fourth place. None of this, however, was good enough to take the overall lead from Frenchman Peterhansel who will take top position on the podium after a gruelling 2013 Dakar Rally.
The formal ceremonial podium ceremony takes place today in front of Santiago’s Palacio de la Moneda, and will be broadcast this evening at 22:30 on Supersport 2, channel 202 on DSTV.
For more photos from the 2013 Dakar Rally, click here.