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Dakar racer receives tough penalty after second motorcycle incident

Giniel De Villiers the driver for the Toyota Gazoo Racing in the Dakar has received tough sanctions after a second motorcycle incident

Dakar driver knocks over motorcyclist

THE driver of a Toyota Gazoo Racing truck has received tough sanctions from Dakar Rally organisers after two serious run-ins with motorcyclists during the race.

Giniel De Villiers is an extremely experienced Dakar racer, with 16 starts, one win, and eight podium finishes to his name in the event. It’s surprising then to see the South African getting caught up in incidents with other competitors in the manner that he has.

The first coming together was with Cesar Zumaran, who had become in a bottleneck between large boulders on stage 1B. De Villiers approaches the bike and seemingly un-sighted, hits the back of the bike, throwing the rider from the seat and partially riding over the motorcycle and rider. After a second or so, De Villiers does back up and free Zumaran, but doesn’t hang about to check on the rider, instead he flees the scene!

The very next day, De Villiers crested a sand dune and completely landed on bike number 163 of Mohamedsaid Aoulad Ali. Again, De Villiers left the scene and initially Ali couldn’t recall the number of the car involved, although telemetry would later confirm the culprit.

For the first incident, De Villiers received a five-minute penalty, something that many observers of the event felt was far too lenient. After the second incident, the penalty was much harsher.

The organisers have handed down a five-hour time penalty to De Villiers, with the South African also asked to pay for the repair of the crushed bike – which was very badly damaged – and also pay the riders entry fee for the 2023 Dakar Rally.

Danilo Petrucci - Tech 3 KTM, Dakar Rally

Danilo Petrucci - Tech 3 KTM, Dakar Rally

How can accidents like this happen in the Dakar Rally?

Rally races such as the Dakar are considered among the most dangerous motorsport events on the planet and accidents are inevitable. This kind of incident though, with a bike and car coming together, is the fear of any competitor.

It is something that rally organisers have tried to combat, with the Sentinel system being its most high-tech weapon. It provides an audible warning to the driver, co-driver, or rider, that a slower vehicle is ahead of them. In both scenarios we mentioned above, De Villiers and his co-pilot claim not to have heard the alarm.

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