After coming ninth in the Dakar Rally's first 2013 special stage, which was really just something of a quick warm-up, Giniel de Villiers (navigated by Dirk Von Zitzewitz) surged ahead in Sunday's 242km second stage to claim second place overall.
The South African brought his works Toyota Hilux home just 2min 35sec behind the Mini of race leader Stephane Peterhansel in the Peruvian stage that took place in the vicinity of Pisco.
The overnight leader Carlos Sainz (in a Buggy) suffered with navigational errors and finished outside of the top ten.
Things are still very tight in the front, however, with third-placed driver Ronan Chabot (in an SMG) having finished the stage just 3m52s behind the winner.
Orlando Terranova (BMW) and Leonid Novitskiy (Mini) completed the top five, while Nasser al-Attiyah (Buggy) managed sixth place despite encountering navigational problems.
There was no such misfortune for Sainz, who later said: “We had a good stage, mainly thanks to navigation. We're fast, and we've got the potential to go even faster, but it was mostly (co-driver) Jean-Paul Cottret's navigation which saved the day.”
FEELING THE HEAT
Also more than satisfied with Sunday's progress, De Villiers exclaimed: "Today's special stage was more difficult than we expected. It was very hot - 40 degrees Centigrade outside and 60 degrees in the car. Navigation was tricky, especially with the sun making it difficult to see the tops of the dunes.
"So I didn't go very fast in the first part of the stage, but then things got better. At the end we're happy because the Hilux is working well and we didn't have any problems. This is a good sign for the next few days, which should be very difficult."
His fellow South African team-mate Duncan Vos (with Rob Howie), had a more difficult day, rolling his car while tackling a high dune. “Luckily car landed on its wheels - many tricky dunes - lying 13th - 22 minutes behind,” Vos tweeted.
The other South African car category contender, Johan van Staden, appears to have encountered mechanical problems and finished in 103rd position in his Enduro MC4-RS.
Sources: Dakar.com, Toyota SA, AFP & Twitter
RESULTS - STAGE 2
1. Stephane Peterhansel (Mini) 2h35m38
2. Giniel De Villiers (Toyota) +2:35
3. Ronan Chabot (SMG) +3:52
4. Orlando Terranova (BMW) +5:26
5. Leonid Novitskiy (Mini) +9:33
6. Nasser al-Attiyah (Buggy) +11:37
7. Lucio Alvarez (Toyota) +13:45
8. Krzysztof Holowczyc (Mini) +14:00
9. Carlos Sousa (Great Wall) +14:33
10. Bernard Errandonea (SMG) +14:36
1. Stephane Peterhansel (Mini) 3h00m20
2. Giniel De Villiers (Toyota) +2:38
3. Ronan Chabot (SMG) +2:46
4. Orlando Terranova (BMW) +6:26
5. Leonid Novitskiy Zhiltsov (Mini) +9:33
6. Nasser al-Attiyah (Buggy) +10:25
7. Lucio Alvarez (Toyota) +12:27
9. Carlos Sousa (Great Wall) +15:48
10. Bernard Errandonea (SMG) +16:15