SA’s Giniel de Villiers ready to take on Dakar Rally once more

Red Bull Dakar Rally racer, Giniel de Villiers stands beside his vehicle for the Dakar Rally

Red Bull Dakar Rally racer, Giniel de Villiers is eagerly anticpating the start of the 2024 Dakar Rally. Picture supplied.

Published Jan 5, 2024


As the 2024 Dakar Rally draws near, acclaimed Red Bull Dakar Rally racer, Giniel de Villiers, eagerly anticipates the challenge, gearing up for what promises to be an exhilarating and demanding event.

De Villiers, a seasoned participant in the legendary rally, shared insights into his preparations, expectations, and reflections from past experiences as he sets his sights on conquering the gruelling terrains once again.

Reflecting on his preparation leading up to the rally, De Villiers emphasised the meticulous work invested in fine-tuning a brand-new car.

"The preparation has been really good. We’ve got a brand new car which is 100 millimetres wider, at a maximum of 2.3 meters wide. So obviously, we are focused on getting the setup right for that car," he explained.

Confidence in new vehicle

Despite challenges associated with the new vehicle's setup, he was confident in their achievements during a successful test in Namibia.

"We had to do quite a lot of work on the setup, and I think we managed to achieve that," he added.

Regarding his expectations for this year's race, De Villiers highlighted the novelty of the upcoming marathon stage.

"There is a new aspect to this one; which is a marathon stage, a 48-hour chrono stage in the empty quarter. It’s going to be 600 km of dunes. I expect that to be extremely challenging," he said.

Acknowledging the race's perennial difficulty, he was excited about competing with the new car against tough opposition.

De Villiers stressed the importance of teamwork in such a demanding race.

"You cannot do well in the rally without a strong team," he emphasised. Highlighting the vital roles within the team, he recognised the synergy among team members as integral to their success.

"Each one plays a very important role in making the whole team work properly," he said.

With an impressive 21 Dakar Rallies under his belt, De Villiers underscored the value of experience.

"The more experience you have, it definitely does help you," he explained. However, he said there was the need for adaptability: "Every year is different... It’s important that you approach the Dakar Rally with a humble perspective.”

De Villiers said it was also important to be fresh for the race.

"You need to find the right balance between being fit enough to do the Rally and not exhausting yourself beforehand. You’ve got to adapt at the moment, and that’s the most important thing.”