[dropcap]A [/dropcap]clean stage for Toyota Gazoo Racing SA’s Giniel de Villiers and navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz saw the pair not only post the second-fastest time on Stage 5 of the Dakar Series: China Rally, but also leapfrog into the overall lead of the event.
“We had a reasonably clean run today,” said De Villiers after completing the stage. “The stage started with some tough dunes, but then moved onto a mix of hard and sandy tracks, which really suited the Toyota Hilux. So, we pushed hard and made up a lot of time.”
The stage, which was reduced from 317 km to 255 km, saw De Villiers / Von Zitzewitz finish just 25 seconds behind Wei Han (China), but enough to end the day 01:41 ahead in the overall standings.
“It was a good day for us on Stage 5. But there’s one more very long stage to come, and there’s no reason to be complacent at this point,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Team Principal, Glyn Hall. “The reality is that the Mongolian desert is a tough and unpredictable place. So, we have to remain focused and push hard on Stage 6.”
The penultimate stage of the Dakar Series: Rally China will see crews tackle a 328 km-long test comprising dunes near the start, with harder surfaces following towards the end. The event ends with a short, 28 km stage on September 30th.