MICHELIN PROPELS GINIEL DE VILLIERS TO SECOND PLACE 2013 DAKAR WIN
With Michelin tyres on their South-African built Toyota Hilux 4X4, Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz stormed across the finish line of the 2013 Dakar Rally to take second place overall.
The 30th Dakar Rally proved to be as thrilling and nail biting as previous races. de Villiers and Zitzewitz claimed the second place spot on day eight (the rest day), then had to fight to maintain position for the remaining six days.
Speaking, afterwards, de Villiers said, “It was a difficult race, as usual. The Dakar is never easy. Second place – that counts as a victory for us.
Last year we exceeded our expectations by far and this year, who would have believed we would better our third place then?
We were a bit unlucky at times; you need a bit of luck in the Dakar, you need the wind to blow in your favour. It wasn’t always the case for us, but that’s racing.”
Ask any mechanic, they will tell you that car tyres are the most important component of any vehicle; ask any 2013 Dakar Rally driver and they will, most likely, tell you that Michelin tyres are the best for the job. To take on the world’s longest and toughest motor race, they need to be: the Dakar features 14 stages, covering more than 8,500 kilometres over varying terrain across Peru, Argentina and Chile. Drivers also have to make a double crossing of the Andes at altitudes exceeding 4,000 meters.
Michelin-tyred vehicles secured podium finishes in all three of the main categories; achieved an all Michelin podium within the motorbike category (motorbikes, wearing Michelin boots, won every single stage of this year’s Dakar) and more than 70% of truck competitors have been favouring Michelin tyres for the last twenty years. Michelin have, once more, cemented their dominance and reputation as the top Dakar tyre.
Whilst de Villiers, and the rest of the Imperial Toyota Team, didn’t always have the wind blowing their way, they did have sets of Michelin Latitude C tyres propelling them on to their second place finish.
These Latitude Cs – designed specifically to be sturdy and versatile – also elevated Stéphane Peterhansel, in his X-Raid-run ALL4 Racing Mini, onto the top podium spot within the cars category.
For the fifth successive year, Frenchman Cyril Despres took the overall motorbike title – his KTM450 was fitted with Michelin Bib Mousse-equipped Michelin Desert Race tyres, engineered to be dependable and agile, and affectionately known as the ‘bikers’ friends’.
Meanwhile, the Russian truck team, KAMAZ, achieved a podium one, two and three with Michelin XZL 14.00R20 tyres playing a significant contributory role.
Extreme motorsport events, such as the Dakar Rally, can appear far removed from our own daily driving and somewhat pointless, but the two are inextricably tied together.
Pascal Couasnon, director of the Michelin Group’s Competition Division, explains why they invest so heavily, in the Dakar: “Michelin is particularly attracted to competitions that are relevant to future development.
As a technical partner of the Dakar, Michelin hopes to bring benefit to the highest possible number of motorists, motorcyclists, and transport companies through the experience it gains in this notoriously difficult event.”
Dakar competitors know that Michelin tyres can be relied upon, and push them to their very limits – you couldn’t wish for a tougher and more rigorous, tyre-punishing proving ground – Michelin then take that valuable live tyre data and apply it to their production road tyres.
With a three-year Dakar Rally investment promise in place, Michelin’s intent is clear: to maintain its Dakar dominance and, in doing so, supply the less extreme motorist with first-class, strong and reliable tyres ready to tackle just about anything.