DAK De Villiers spearheads Toyota's Dakar Rally challenge as crews arrive in Calama

35th Peru-Argentina-Chile (Dakar Rally) – January 5th-20th, 2013

For immediate release
Thursday, January 10th 2013

LEG 6 – Arica to Calama
Liaison 291km; Special 455km; Total – 746km


· Overdrive Toyota’s Olholm, Malysz and Coffaro in 15th, 18th and 19th overall
· Argentina’s Alvarez and Graue snatch seventh fastest time and move into 20th
· Al-Attiyah’s third stage win reduced Stéphane Peterhansel’s lead to 1min 18sec

CALAMA (CHILE): Toyota Imperial South Africa Team driver Giniel de Villiers and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz retained third overall by 2min 16sec after finishing sixth on the sixth stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally between Arica and the copper mining hub of Calama in northern Chile on Thursday.

Overdrive Racing’s Lucio Alvarez and co-driver Ronnie Graue began the day in 25th place in their Toyota Hilux and recorded the seventh quickest time to climb five positions and finish the stage in 20th overall.

“We were running well in the first part of the stage,” said Alvarez. “Then, in the last dune, I was trapped and we lost seven minutes trying to get out. The second half of the stage was like racing on WRC roads and it made me feel like the tracks in Finland, like on the course I took last year with Tapio Laukkanen.”

One-hundred and twenty-two cars were permitted to start the sixth stage and previous stage winner Joan Roma led them into the demanding 455km special that started after a 192km liaison and featured a wide variety of terrain and was split into two sections. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and De Villiers made the early running, but Roma was delayed in soft sand after 75km and De Villiers also lost time on two occasions in soft terrain.

Al-Attiyah and Carlos Sainz maintained the initiative to the second passage control, as the Qatari began to make in-roads into Stéphane Peterhansel’s overall lead of 9min 54sec. After two hours of racing Al-Attiyah had shaved six minutes off the Frenchman’s lead, while De Villiers and Alvarez were running in a virtual ninth and 11th on the stage. Sainz hit engine trouble after 181km and was forced to wait for his assistance.

Al-Attiyah led at the end of the first section (229km) by 6min 21sec from Peterhansel, with Toyota’s De Villiers in sixth and Toyota’s Alvarez, Adam Malyz, Nunzio Coffaro and Geoff Olholm in ninth, 20th, 27th and 30th on the stage. The Qatari held on to secure his third stage win, Peterhansel came in second and De Villiers finished sixth. The result meant that Al-Attiyah reduced Peterhansel’s overall lead to just 1min 18sec.

“We were going along nicely, but we got stuck in the sand when we had to lift off the gas on the crest of a dune,” said De Villiers. “Just behind the crest was Nani Roma, who had got stuck there. Had we been warned, we would easily have avoided the situation. When we filled the tyres back up with air we also changed a wheel, as the tyre probably slipped off the rim when we let the air out. That cost more time.”

Australian Olholm and British co-driver Jonathon Aston began the day in 13th overall in their Cairns Coconut Resort-supported Toyota Hilux, but slipped two places to 15th after the first stage in Chile after losing around 20 minutes on the stage.

Poles Malysz and fellow countryman Rafal Marton were 19th overall at the start of the first Chilean special stage and climbed a place to 18th after finishing in a similar position in the day’s rankings.

Venezuelans Nunzio Coffaro and Daniel Meneses were classified 20th overall in their Team Azimut Toyota at the start of stage six. They also dropped time on the day’s special and reached Calama in 19th overall.

Szymon Ruta and co-driver Laurent Lichtleuchter began the first of the Chilean stages in 62nd overall at the helm of the Orlen-backed Hilux and were seeded to start in 31st position on the road. But they failed to appear at the first checkpoint in the opening section of the stage.

The Overdrive Racing Toyota chassis were built in Belgium in conjunction with Toyota Motorsport South Africa and Hallspeed and are powered by the 4.6-litre V8 engine that conforms to the latest FIA regulations. Overdrive is based at Villers-le-Bouillet, near Huy, in Belgium. Overdrive Racing has support from sponsors Toyota Belgium, Mistral, Donaldson Filtration and Michelin.

Tomorrow (Friday), the route of the Dakar Rally takes crews across the border into Argentina on a tiring liaison section across the Andes mountain range via the Paso de Jama and into the foothills to a competitive stage start south of the Jujuy region at an altitude of over 3,500 metres.

The gruelling special winds its way through the hills and along twisty trails and a short liaison takes teams to the overnight halt at Salta for the first time in Dakar history. The city lies in the Lerna Valley around 1,150 metres above sea level and is the second largest in north-west Argentina.

Overall positions after leg 6 – Arica to Calama, 438km (@16.30hrs)
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 14hrs 36min 16sec
2. Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah (QAT)/Lucas Cruz Senra (ESP) Buggy 14hrs 37min 34sec
3. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota Hilux 15hrs 18min 47sec
4. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) Mini All4 Racing 15hrs 21min 03sec
5. Guerlain Chicherit (FRA)/Jean-Pierre Garcin(FRA) SMG Buggy 15hrs 52min 42sec
6. Ronan Chabot (FRA)/Gilles Pillot (FRA) SMG Buggy 16hrs 04min 08sec
7. Joan Roma (ESP)/Michel Périn (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 16hrs 07min 08sec
8. Bernard Errandonea (AND)/Arnaud Debron (FRA) SMG Buggy 16hrs 26min 23sec

Overdrive Toyota entries:
15. Geoff Olholm (AUS)/Jonathon Aston (GBR) Toyota Hilux 17hrs 34min 13sec
18. Adam Malysz (POL)/Rafal Marton (POL) Toyota Hilux 17hrs 57min 21sec
19. Nunzio Coffaro (VEN)/Daniel Meneses (VEN) Toyota Hilux 18hrs 28min 42sec
20. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Ronnie Graue (ARG) Toyota Hilux 18hrs 51min 17sec
TBA. Szymon Ruta (POL)/Lauren Lichtleuchter (FRA) Toyota Hilux TBA


For further information: contact Jean-Marc Fortin (E-mail: jmf@overdriveracing.be) or Scott Abraham (E-mail: sa@overdriveracing.be), Overdrive S.A., rue de la métallurgie 37, 4530 Villers-le-Bouillet, Belgium, Tel: + 32 475 762 391. www.overdriveracing.be



Date issued: 10/01/2013

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