Six SA drivers race for places in the finish in Dakar after halfway mark

2015-01-12 00:00

HAVING passed the halfway mark in the Dakar, the six South African drivers in the 9 000 km cross-country race can now start to race for a place instead of just aiming to finish.

Yesterday’s fast stage eight saw the cars finish the longest special stage in the rally, 781 kilometres, with a race down the massive dune, for which Iquique has become famous.

Team manager Glynn Hall said he looks forward to racing the normally aspirated Lexus V8 engine in the Toyota Imperial Hilux at lower altitudes.

Nasser Al-Attiyah still leads the race in his turbo-boosted Mini, but the Hilux of SA’s 2009 winner Giniel de Villiers is maintaining a gap of less than a minute behind the Qatari.

The car drivers rest today, but for the riders and truckers, the halfway-mark of the Dakar means the cross-country race has now morphed into an merciless enduro that will test the limits of each competitor until it ends on Saturday. As one of the crew in last year’s winning supporting truck, Albert Geel (26) from Pretoria, told The Witness: “The Dakar is not a race, it is a journey of self-discovery”.

The oldest biker among the South Africans competing in this year’s Dakar, Wessel Bosman, retired this weekend, but he said he viewed the gruelling race as “perhaps a prize to thank me for my life”.

The 57-year-old biker, who started riding to promote the Afriski resort in Lesotho with his late son, Juan, is the latest South African withdrawal from the cross-country race.

He entered the Dakar after impressing the organisers by riding from Cape Town to Egypt to compete in the Pharoah’s rally, where he came 10th after 17 000 km of hard riding.

Before the Dakar, he told media: “I’m not saying I will finish the Dakar. I believe in dreams and I also believe in the fact that for good luck, you have to face bad luck. A year ago, I thought the Dakar was impossible, that it was just for champions. It’s a chance in my life and it’s an opportunity to promote winter sports in Africa.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.