Two podium positions for Toyota at Dakar
Dakar 2018 drew to a close on Saturday in Cordoba, Argentina. The closing stage of the race, Stage 14, proved very exciting, with only minutes between Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz in overall third place, and Peugeot’s Stephane Peterhansel in fourth. Toyota team-mates Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel did even better, placing second in the final standings.
“We always knew that Stephane was going to push on the last stage, but making up eight minutes on such a fast WRC-style stage isn’t easy,” said an elated De Villiers from the end of the final stage, near Villa Carlos Paz in Argentina. “At the same time, we had to make sure we made no mistakes, and one slip could cost us the podium.” It turned out that De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz did much more. They drove a faultless stage, with their Toyota Hilux finishing 40 seconds ahead of Peterhansel to claim their first stage win of Dakar 2018. This meant they retained their third position in the overall rankings, while teammates Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel set the third-fastest time of the day, just one second behind Peterhansel.
“For us, Dakar 2018 was extremely tough,” said the Qatari driver from the final bivouac in Cordoba.
“But we are very happy to finish in second place overall. Of course, we would have been happier with a win, but to have two of our three cars on the podium is an amazing achievement.” Dakar 2018 was an exceptional race that stretched across three countries, 14 stages and more than 7 000km. The race started in the Peruvian capital of Lima on 6 January.
The Dakar Rally remains one of the toughest races in the world and this year featured many new stages and innovations.
They drove a faultless stage, with their Toyota Hilux finishing 40 seconds ahead of Peterhansel to claim their first stage win of Dakar 2018.
1. C Sainz (Peugeot) 49:16:18; 2. N Al Attiyah (Toyota) +00:43:40; 3. G de Villiers (Toyota) +01:16:41; 4. S Peterhansel (Peugeot); +01:25:29; 5. J Przygonski; (Mini) +02:45:24.
De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz in action on stage 13.
Nasser Al Attiyah (left) and Mathieu Baumel.