DAK Geoff Olholm climbs to 12th after ninth stage of Dakar Rally

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

For immediate release
Monday, January 14th 2013

LEG 9– San Miguel de Tucumán to Cordoba
Liaisons 259km; Special 593km; Total – 852km


· Toyota Imperial South Africa’s Giniel de Villiers climbs to second overall
· Strong stage performances by Overdrive’s Alvarez and Malayz into Cordoba
· Peterhansel extends rally lead; Roma wins stage; Al-Attiyah in trouble

CORDOBA (ARGENTINA): The Overdrive Racing duo of Australian Geoff Olholm and British co-driver Jonathon Aston enjoyed a superb day at the helm of the Cairns Coconut Resort-supported Toyota Hilux.

On the longest special stage of the 2013 Dakar Rally between San Miguel de Tucumán and Cordoba in Argentina on Monday, they recorded the eighth fastest time and climbed from 15th to 12th in the overall standings and can now push on towards the top 10 over the remaining five special stages before the finish in Santiago on Saturday.

Toyota Imperial South Africa Team driver Giniel de Villiers and his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz held the virtual stage lead for long periods and eventually recorded the fifth quickest time. With Qatar’s Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah losing substantial time on the special, De Villiers now finds himself in second overall, albeit 49min 31sec behind the defending champion Stéphane Peterhansel.

“Everything was going well until around 100km from the finish when the front brake disc just blew up,” said De Villiers. “We had to stop and set off again with almost no brakes and then we had a puncture. It’s a big shame because we were doing well. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. But now we are second overall.”

Only 106 cars began the longest special of the entire rally – a gruelling 593km passage through northern Argentina to the bivouac at the second city of Cordoba with a neutralised section of around 122km after the first third of the day’s action. Guerlain Chicherit led the way in his Buggy, but De Villiers held a slender advantage over Joan Roma at the first waypoint, with Overdrive Racing’s Lucio Alvarez running in fourth. Peterhansel, the rally leader, was already 2min 16sec in front of main rival Al-Attiyah on the boulder-strewn special

After 226km - at the end of the first competitive section - De Villiers was the man to beat and remained in prime position to give Toyota its first Dakar stage win. The South African headed Roma by 42 seconds as crews passed along the neutralisation section to start the second half of the special. Alvarez had been running as high as fourth before passing the checkpoint in 13th. Olholm was a fine eighth.

Peterhansel was running over seven minutes in front of Al-Attiyah and reached the end of the second section and the overnight halt in Cordoba with the second quickest time. His Qatari stopped several times with technical issues and plummeted down the order, as Roma won his second special of the Dakar with a time of 5hrs 36min 28sec and De Villiers was fifth after late brake woes and a flat tyre.

The Argentinean pairing of Alvarez and co-driver Ronnie Graue set the 10th quickest time and climbed from 20th overall to 16th. “We had a great start to the stage and the times were good,” said Lucio. “Unfortunately we overshot a corner where the engine stalled and a tree went through the windscreen. We were very lucky that neither Ronnie not I were hurt but it meant that we had to run the complete stage with a hole the size of a soccer ball in the windscreen and that, together with two punctures, put us out of the fight for the top five on the stage.”

Former ski jump champion Adam Malysz and co-driver Rafal Marton began the day in 17th position and the 16th quickest time ensured that the Polish duo are now classified in 14th. “It was a very long stage but we had no problems other than being stuck behind another competitor for over 70km,” said Malysz. “I was happy to reach Carlos Paz and am looking forward to the next stages.”

Venezuelans Nunzio Coffaro and Daniel Meneses were classified 19th in their Team Azimut Toyota before the start and a stage time of just under six and a half hours ensured that the South Americans climbed from 20th to 17th, despite falling behind teammates Alvarez and Graue.

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 (Tuesday), the Dakar caravan heads across Argentina in a westerly direction from Cordoba to the overnight halt at La Rioja, a regular stopover on recent Dakar rallies. In a daunting day’s route of 632km, teams will tackle 353 competitive kilometres.

Overall positions after leg 9 – San Miguel de Tucumán to Cordoba
1. Stéphane Peterhansel (FRA)/Jean-Paul Cottret (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 24hrs 11min 43sec
2. Giniel de Villiers (ZAF)/Dirk von Zitzewitz (GER) Toyota Hilux 25hrs 01min 14sec
3. Leonid Novitskiy (RUS)/Konstantin Zhiltsov (RUS) Mini All4 Racing 25hrs 07min 46sec
4. Joan Roma (ESP)/Michel Périn (FRA) Mini All4 Racing 25hrs 45min 59sec
5. Orlando Terranova (ARG)/Paulo Fiuza (POR) BMW X3 CC 26hrs 12min 51sec
6. Carlos Sousa (POR)/Miguel Ramalho (PRT) Great Wall 26hrs 25min 24sec
7. Guerlain Chicherit (FRA)/Jean-Pierre Garcin(FRA) SMG Buggy 26hrs 45min 35sec
8. Ronan Chabot (FRA)/Gilles Pillot (FRA) SMG Buggy 26hrs 47min 05sec
9. Bernard Errandonea (AND)/Arnaud Debron (FRA) SMG Buggy 26hrs 47min 23sec

Overdrive Toyota entries:
12. Geoff Olholm (AUS)/Jonathon Aston (GBR) Toyota Hilux 27hrs 39min 11sec
14. Adam Malysz (POL)/Rafal Marton (POL) Toyota Hilux 28hrs 20min 47sec
16. Lucio Alvarez (ARG)/Ronnie Graue (ARG) Toyota Hilux 28hrs 56min 34sec
17. Nunzio Coffaro (VEN)/Daniel Meneses (VEN) Toyota Hilux 29hrs 04min 07sec


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: 14/01/2013

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