Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz made a dream start to the second week of the Dakar Rally when they led the first half of the two-part 593km special stage nine between San Miguel de Tucuman and Cordoba in Argentina on Monday.
Had it not been for a faulty front brake disc on the Imperial Toyota Hilux #301 that caused them to slow down in the second half followed by a puncture that lost them more time they might have increased their career Dakar special stage win tally to 14.
After losing around 10 minutes they reached the end of the longest special stage of the 8 500km rally in fifth place, 9 min 39 sec down on winners Nani Roma of Spain and French co-driver Michel Perin in a Mini. Third were overall leaders Stephane Peterhansel and Jean Paul Cottret of France in another Mini.
In the general classification Toyota Imperial South Africa Team’s De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz have now moved up to second overall, 49 minutes behind Peterhansel and Cottret and 6 min 32 sec ahead of the Mini of Russians Leonid Novitskiy and Konstantin Zhiltsov.