Lima, Peru - Wednesday’s third stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally dealt a huge blow to South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers and navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz, who lost four-and-a-half hours after hitting a rock that was hidden in loose sand.
The pair, who had taken the overall lead after the second stage, lost all oil pressure after the impact, which destroyed the Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux bakkie’s sump guard.
“We knew that we’d had a big hit, so we kept a close eye on all the systems, and it wasn’t long before we knew we were in trouble. We stopped and tried to affect our own repairs, but in the end, we had to wait for assistance,” De Villiers said after the stage.
He now sits in 40th place overall, 4h23m behind the leader, but all is not lost for the Proudly South African Toyota Gazoo Racing outfit as its other prime contender, Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar, retook the overall lead on Wednesday's 331km stage (from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa) after finishing second, just 3m26s behind stage winner Stephane Peterhansel (X-Raid Mini).
Al-Attiyah was followed home by Jakub Przygonski, Yazeed Al Rajhi and Nani Roma, all of the X-Raid team.