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16 January, 2012
Podium finish for De Villiers on 2012 Dakar Rally
South Africa's Giniel de Villiers, German Dirk von Zitzewitz and Imperial Toyota have finished third overall in the toughest rally in the world, the Dakar Rally.
Armed with their privately-run Toyota Hilux, which was developed in accordance with new Dakar Rally regulations set to be introduced in the future, they claimed a podium finish against far more powerful opponents at the first attempt.
For de Villiers/von Zitzewitz this was the third top-three finish at the legendary desert rally since it moved to South America four years ago - no other duo can boast such a successful record on this continent.
Their victory in 2009 saw the pair herald the era of diesel dominance, which has lasted until today. With third place in 2012 they have demonstrated the capabilities of petrol-driven prototypes and future, production-based race technology.
The last time a car running on conventional petrol finished in the top three was in 2009.
From 2013 competitors will use production-based engines, in accordance with Dakar regulations. Imperial Toyota, on the other hand, has already been employing tomorrow's technology this year.
The team arrives home on Tuesday, 17 January on flight SA 225 at 15h30. Be there to give them the welcome they deserve!
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