The rollercoaster ride that is the Dakar rally has seen moments of misery grace South African rally icon Giniel De Villiers and co-driver Dennis Murphy. From penalties in the opening stages of the tournament to having them subsequently rescinded, the South African pairing managed to trump with an overall win on Stage 9 of the 44th edition of the gruelling race.
Veteran Giniel stated that the car was set up to perfection and that their clean, puncture-less run on the high speed stage made the contrast to the worsening damper issue in the prior days that much sweeter. Taking just 2 hours, 23 minutes and 8 seconds to complete the stage saw the local duo move into 5th place of the overall standings, just 1 hour 45 minutes and 1 second behind the interval.
The short 287km which saw crews complete a looped stage starting and ending in the vicinity of Wadi Ad Dawasir also saw fellow countryman Henk Lategan and co-driver Brett Cummings trail by just 9 seconds, even after suffering a puncture on their GR DKR Hilux T1+ in the latter part of the stages. The 27 year old catapulted himself and his co-driver up to 31st in the overall classification, and will be aiming for more stage wins before the end of the rally and crucially to get more experience for future editions of the Toughest Race in the World.
Overall race leader Nasser Al-Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel completed the trifecta finishing 1 minute and 4 seconds behind the victor and retain an overall lead of 39 minutes and 5 seconds over Frenchman Sebastian Loeb with just 3 stages remaining in the 2022 edition of the prestigious rally. While there are no easy days of the tournament and the unpredictable nature of the race means nothing is guaranteed, the Qatari driver and his French co-driver look set to emerge victorious from the 12 stages of the 44th edition.