Wheels24.co.za | Dakar 2020: Giniel de Villiers is looking forward to new challenges in Saudi Arabia | Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa driver Giniel de Villiers says the Dakar Rally isn’t called the world’s toughest race for nothing as he prepares for

Wheels24.co.za | Dakar 2020: Giniel de Villiers is looking forward to new challenges in Saudi Arabia

Wheels24.co.za | Dakar 2020: Giniel de Villiers is looking forward to new challenges in Saudi Arabia

Wheels24.co.za | Dakar 2020: Giniel de Villiers is looking forward to new challenges in Saudi Arabia

Wheels24.co.za | Dakar 2020: Giniel de Villiers is looking forward to new challenges in Saudi Arabia

Wheels24.co.za | Dakar 2020: Giniel de Villiers is looking forward to new challenges in Saudi Arabia

Wheels24.co.za | Dakar 2020: Giniel de Villiers is looking forward to new challenges in Saudi Arabia
Wheels24.co.za | Dakar 2020: Giniel de Villiers is looking forward to new challenges in Saudi Arabia
  • By: sport24.co.za
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Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa driver Giniel de Villiers says the Dakar isn’t called the world’s toughest race for nothing as he prepares for the next installment, taking place for the first time in Saudi Arabia. 

The Barrydale-born driver has completed 16 Dakar rallies in a row and says the two-week race is physically and mentally draining. 

German Dirk von Zitzewitz will once again occupy the navigator's seat in the Hilux.  

De Villiers will compete in his 17th Dakar in Saudi Arabia, in what’s being hailed as the ‘third chapter’. Chapter one being Africa, second South America, and third, Asia.

"I was fortunate enough to win the first one in South America and then a couple of second and third places, so hopefully the first race outing in Saudi Arabia can get us another win," the former four-time SA touring champion says. 

The 47-year-old South African has finished in third on two occasions in the last four years, and has stepped up onto the podium eight times.

De Villiers says the terrain will be similar to that of North Africa (where the Rally of Morocco takes place) but won’t have the huge crowds seen at the South American editions of the race. 

"From the footage I’ve seen, the terrain looks spectacular and I think it’s well-suited to make for a great race,” De Villiers concluded. 

                                                  Image: Motorpress

The 2020 Dakar Rally takes place from 5 - 17 January 2020, beginning in Jeddah and finishing in Qiddiyah. 

Race organisers say the drivers and crews will be facing a total of 7500km, including 5000km of specials, five of them longer than 450km.

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F1 in embarrassing U-turn as famous chequered flag is reinstated just year after it was axed for digital board

F1 in embarrassing U-turn as famous chequered flag is reinstated just year after it was axed for digital board

FORMULA ONE has been forced into making an embarrassing U-turn – reinstating the famous chequered flag just A YEAR after it was axed for in favour of a digital board.

A new system was introduced to the sport for the 2019 season to mark the official end of a race rather than the traditional handheld flag.

The traditional chequered flag will be reinstated in 2020 after digital board blunders

But now the old-fashioned method of pulling down the curtain on a Grand Prix has been reinstated after errors in the system created a farce in Japan.

At the Japanese GP earlier this year, the race was ended one lap early due to an error with the digital board.

Despite the board stating the race had ended, drivers charged around the track believing their to be a 53rd lap.

However, despite that, the official results were drawn from the end of the 52nd lap – one early.

That ensured Sergio Perez officially finished in the points in ninth, despite crashing on the “final” lap.

Now the FIA – Formula One‘s governing body – have released a statement announcing the death of the modern system and reintegration of the traditional flag.

In a statement listing four major rule changes, one read 2020 can expect “the reinstatement of the chequered flag as the definitive end-of-race signal”.

For the 2019 season, won by Lewis Hamilton, the traditional chequered flag was used – but only in a ceremonial manner, with David Beckham having a go in Bahrain.

The digital board was initially brought in to replace the flag after a few errors down the years.

In 2018, model Winnie Harlow accidentally waved the black and white flag a lap early, while Brazilian legend Pele waved it too late in 2002.

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