Two po­di­um po­si­ti­ons for Toyo­ta at Da­kar

George Herald - Auto Dealer - - Auto Dealer -

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.

FI­NAL STAN­DINGS:

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.

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