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Penultimate stage of Dakar 2015 sees steady performances by both Toyota Imperial SA Dakar Team crews Penultimate stage of Dakar 2015 sees steady performances by both Toyota Imperial SA Dakar Team crews

Penultimate stage of Dakar 2015 sees steady performances by both Toyota Imperial SA Dakar Team crews 16 January 2015

Stage 12, the penultimate stage of Dakar 2015, saw the race crews compete in a testing 298 km-long special, which took them from the riverside town of Termas Rio Hondo to the city of Rosario - and the very last bivouac of the race.

Both Toyota Imperial South African Dakar Team vehicles recorded solid, steady performances, with Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz (#303) posting the 12th-fastest time of the day. Leeroy Poulter and Rob Howie (#327) were just 12 seconds slower than their teammates - good enough for the 13th position on the stage. The result of their steady performances on Stage 12 was that De Villiers and Von Zitzewitz consolidated their second position in the overall standings, with Poulter and Howie holding steady in 16th.

"It was another good, solid day for us today," said Team Principal Glyn Hall from the final bivouac of the race. "Giniel and Dirk did exactly what we required of them by driving conservatively and bringing the Toyota Imperial Hilux through without any hassles. And Leeroy and Rob did a great job despite starting down in 20th position due to some of the other drivers using their 'jokers' to improve their own starting slots."

For the Toyota Imperial SA Dakar Team, the 2015 Dakar is all but over. Only one stage remains, between Rosario and the Argentine capital Buenos Aires. Stage 13 is 174 km in length, and will bring the total distance covered by the race teams to 9,112 km. For Poulter/Howie the final stage may be the chance to push hard for a stage win, after they again showed remarkable pace on Stage 12, catching and passing slower crews - but never getting the clear air needed for a proper push. For their teammates, however, Stage 13 needs to go just the same as Stage 12.

"The reality is that we've had second place wrapped up since the rest day - barring something unforeseen," explained De Villiers after completing Stage 12. "All that remains for us to do is to bring the Toyota Imperial Hilux home safely. To do that, we can't afford to take any risks on the final stage."

After completing the stage to Buenos Aires, each race crew will attend the traditional finish podium, as they bid farewell to one of the greatest motor races in the world.

Toyota Motorsport South Africa Acknowledges Its Dakar Sponsors, Specialist Official Suppliers and Technical Partners:

Hallspeed, TFM, Castrol, SKF, Spanjaard, Robor, 4x4 Megaworld, NGK, Donaldson, Mastercraft, Sat4Rent, Oakley, Edgecam, Supreme Springs, FreeM, Bosch, Smiths Manufacturing and Shatterprufe. Also Duxbury Netgear, Innovation Group, Toyota Financial Services, SAA Cargo, Toyota and Imperial Toyota.

Note to editors:

Difference between Cross-Country, Off-Road and Rally racing: The Dakar is a cross-country race where vehicles race between GPS waypoints as opposed to existing roads. In a rally (a la WRC) the cars race along closed roads. In an off-road race the competitors follow routes not suitable for cars, but they still have a set route to follow.

For the purpose of The Dakar, the event is called a rally (The Dakar Rally), though it doesn't conform to the definition of a traditional rally. It has timed race (stages) and liaison (open road) sections where they do not race against the clock, but still have to depart at certain predetermined times and clock in before a given deadline to avoid time penalties.

In a rally, competitors race in similar fashion, but use multiple short stages (up to 25-35km each; around 5 or 6 special stages per day; 2-3 days per event).

In off-road racing an event consists of one long stage on a single day only, and an event is usually run over 2 days.

The Dakar lasts 14 days and covers 4,752 race kilometres and 9,295 km in total (combination of stages and liaisons). The event is split by a rest day at the halfway mark. It is officially the longest motorsport event in the world (distance and time).