ANOTHER TOP 10 FINISH FOR GWM AT DAKAR
Great Wall Motors’ Haval Dakar Team finished the 2013 Dakar Rally in sixth overall position on 20 January 2013 in Santiago, Chile, repeating its solid performance of 2012.
Seasoned drivers Carlos Sousa and Zhou Yong once again headed up the two GWM Haval H5 racing SUVs, with Sousa claiming the sixth overall position, and Yong equalling his best Dakar performance by finishing 19th overall. Sousa finished the 14th and final stage in eighth place in a time of 01:47:29, whilst Yong was 12th to arrive in Santiago in a time of 01:50:29.
This year only marked GWM’s fourth ever participation in the Dakar Rally, making its feat even more significant.
The 14-stage Dakar Rally which kicked off in Lima, Peru on 5 January 2013, was won by previous winner Stéphane Peterhansel (MINI) with Giniel de Villiers (Toyota) in second and Leonid Novitskiy (MINI) in third place.
GWM’s Carlos Sousa, who has finished in the top 10 eleven times, had a consistent rally and apart from technical difficulties during Stage 3, maintained a position amongst the frontrunners throughout. Breaking with tradition by featuring a dune stage early on, the 2013 Dakar Rally spanned more than 8 000 km over three South American countries: Peru, Argentina and Chile.
Zhou Yong displayed a solid performance every day, finishing 10th twice during the second half of the rally. He achieved record stage results amongst Chinese participants – another feather in the cap for GWM.
This year’s sixth overall finish no doubt continues to prove that the GWM Haval H5 SUV can more than hold its own on treacherous terrain, and that GWM has a sound rally strategy and logistics support in place. “Large-displacement petrol cars put us under heavy pressure this year, but in the end our perseverance paid off. The Haval Dakar Team well and truly deserves our congratulations,” said Dong Ming, the team’s director.
GWM’s fourth Dakar Rally also garnered heightened attention for the GWM Haval H5 SUV, with the likes of top rally competitors Sainz and Gordon and renowned manufacturers Total and Michelin showing interest in the brand. Distributed in more than 100 countries, 36 000 units of the GWM Haval H5 SUV were exported in 2012, ranking it amongst the top three Chinese auto brands based on exports.
The closing and awards ceremony took place in Santiago on 20 January, signalling the end of the 2013 Dakar Rally and a successful two weeks for GWM.