Giniel de Villiers
Photo Credit: Red Bull Supplied

Giniel de Villiers and co-pilot Dennis Murphy earned P4 at this year’s Dakar; Giniel shares his experience and tips for first-time riders.


South Africa (20 January 2023) – Giniel De Villiers and Dennis Murphy (co-pilot) drove at the Dakar 2023 this year – driving a Toyota for Toyota Gazoo Racing and Red Bull Rally. The pair earn P4 and got to celebrate on the podium this year. Giniel shared some of his experiences and preparations he made for the trip this year.

Giniel shares that preparations never really end. Even after the Dakar has ended for the year, the team starts preparing for the next one almost immediately.

“When you finish with the previous one, you basically start getting ready for the next one. Obviously, there’s always things to improve and with technology never standing still, you know what we do? There’s always new things that come around and which we need to try and see if we can improve the package that we have.”

The very best preparations are to keep competing which includes the South African Championship. The team are testing in Namibia and the Khalari this year.

The race throws every kind of challenge at a driver but the best way to overcome them, is to face them in the shortest amount of time possible. These challenges can affect how one is able to achieve their goals in the race.

“You always have some challenges in the race, it is just how you get past them without losing the most amount of time. But I think the goal is always to be on the podium and you know, obviously at least match your last result or do better than the previous year.”

Giniel and Dennis used a new car this year, adding bigger wheels and suspension. This was a whole different challenge in learning the car but the duo rose to the occasion and were really happy with the car’s performance this year.

“We’ve got a very good package in the Toyota Hilux and we’re very happy with the performance, and of course, the Hilux is known for its reliability”

This year marked Giniel’s 20th Dakar and he said it was definitely the toughest race he has done in Saudi Arabia. From flooding to freezing cold weather and then typical desert weather.  In order to endure these challenges, Giniel says you need to stay as fit as possible and have good nutrition. These are key factors in keeping energised throughout the long days.

When asked what advise he would offer to first-time Dakar entrants, he says just keep an open mind!

“That’s a very, very daunting task and, you know, it can be scary at times because you don’t know what you’re getting yourselves into, but I would just say for any first time, as you know, go there with an open mind.

Don’t try and go absolutely crazy on the first stage, get yourself into the race. Try to learn, try to see what other guys that have been there are doing, and then, just do what you normally do.”

He says don’t rush the first stages, rather get a feel for the environment.

“My advice would definitely be to get into the race, take it a little bit easy in the beginning, especially if it’s your first time and then get to know, how the race works; slowly build from there and then you’ll definitely have a good finish at the end.”

Sources: Red Bull – Supplied
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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