The joy knows no bounds and the relief is equally tangible: Giniel de Villiers and his co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz have done it. They completed the 9,000 kilometres of the 2015 Dakar Rally and finished runners-up in the toughest rally in the world. For just under two weeks, the South African-German duo faced numerous challenges.
Their Imperial Toyota Hilux, which underwent extensive development ahead of this year’s Dakar, was a reliable companion on this punishing rally adventure. Having won the Dakar together in 2009 in a Castrol-powered Volkswagen Race Touareg, Villiers and Von Zitzewitz chose a new car, but the same oil this time around, once again putting their faith in high-performance Castrol lubricants.
This year’s Dakar route led from the Argentinean capital Buenos Aires, through Iquique on the Pacific coast of Chile, and on to Uyuni in Bolivia, before returning to Buenos Aires. Demanding WRC-style gravel stages, tricky dunes with very fine sand in the extremely hot and dry Atacama Desert, and special stages at over 4,500 metres above sea level in the Andes made the Dakar an exhausting venture.
“The Rally Dakar once again lived up to its reputation as the toughest rally in the world this year,” said German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz upon their arrival at the finish in Buenos Aires. “The two weeks were challenging in many different ways. Man and machine were again put through their paces. Giniel and I worked superbly as a team and we could always rely on our Toyota Hilux. With a distance of over 9,000 kilometres, of which just short of half were against the clock, the engine is put under extreme strain. It is essential to have an excellent lubricant – and that is precisely what Castrol provided us with again this year.”
Another team supplied with high-performance lubricants courtesy of Castrol also tasted success in their class. The Russian Kamaz-Master team has been placing its trust in Castrol products since it first entered the Dakar 20 years ago and this year claimed its 13th overall victory. And that was not all: Kamaz team trucks closed out the podium, also scooping second and third place at the finish in Buenos Aires. “Castrol offered us a full range of products ahead of our first outing in the Dakar in 1994, and we tested them for several races,” said Kamaz team principal Vladimir Chagin. “The tests confirmed that we made the right decision, so we decided to stick with Castrol. We have never used any other oil since then. Over the course of all these years, we have never had a single technical problem or suffered any damage as a result of the oil quality. In my opinion, there is no better testimony to the quality than that.”