The Dakar is under the control of ‘old rockers’. Carlos Sainz, Stéphane Peterhansel, Nasser Al-Attiyah or Sébastien Loeb are not exactly ‘kids’ who are starting in this raid thing. All of them are a safe value, as is Giniel De Villiers. 49 springs contemplate him and for 19 years he has been present at the Dakar. Not a single issue has been lost since 2003, always behind the wheel. First with Nissan, then with Volkswagen, brand with which he got his only ‘Touareg’. And since 2012 as the spearhead of the Toyota project, even if it has been overshadowed by Al-Attiyah.
But nevertheless, his link with Toyota and his streak of back-to-back Dakar starts have come close to breaking in recent months. In fact, its presence in the official team of the Japanese firm has been in doubt during several phases of the year, since the brand has in Nasser Al-Attiyah as a safe value and a Henk Lategan as a pilot ‘programmed’ to give the relief to the De Villiers himself. The positive for COVID-19 carried out by Giniel in the days before the start of the Dakar was about to leave him without a race. However, De Villiers was able to get into his V6-powered Toyota GR DKR Hilux T1 +.
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For some things or others, Giniel De Villiers is always on the run, he always delivers. And in the 44th edition of the toughest rally-raid in the world, it was necessary to wait for the ninth stage to see De Villiers again in his usual role. Two encounters with each other ‘motards’, a five-hour penalty imposed and withdrawn and some problems with the Toyota Hilux have not diverted Giniel de Viliers from his habit of winning a stage of the Dakar. With his victory in the ninth special of the event, the South African rider accumulates five consecutive editions, achieving a stage victory. It seems easy and it is said soon.
Although Toyota Gazoo Racing can see in Henk Lategan the perfect figure to take over from Giniel De Villiers, It seems very difficult to give up a driver who seems to assure you at least one stage win for Dakar. A dose of headlines at a global level difficult to reject and more with a South African driver as the protagonist, since the Toyota Gazoo Racing project in raids was born in its subsidiary in this country. Be that as it may, De Villiers has already fulfilled his role in a day that ended with a triplet for Toyota, perfect preview of the room Dakar by Nasser Al-Attiyah that the Qatari already brushes with his fingers.