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Dakar driver Giniel de Villiers reportedly under investigation after collision with rider


advrider

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DE-VILLIERS-2.jpg

Several online motorsport outlets are reporting Dakar car drive Giniel de Villiers is under investigation by FIM and FIA stewards after colliding with a motorcyclists in Stage 1 of the rally, with further questions over a second incident in Stage 2.

You can see footage of the first event below:

After this incident, de Villiers told FIM stewards that he’d gotten into a tight spot, and inadvertently slid to the side, striking Chilean motorcycle competitor Cesar Zumaran (Rider #160). As you can see from the clip above, de Villiers kept going afterwards. Perhaps there was some confusion over the meaning of Zumaran’s gesticulations, but it seems he was unhappy that the car kept going after the collision. Zumaran was indeed able to finish the stage, at least.

Here’s how de Villiers explained the incident on social media:

During stage 1 of the Dakar rally we were involved in an incident with bike rider no 106. Whilst going up a very difficult steep narrow rocky sandy trail section our car got kicked to the left by a rock resulting in us hitting the back of rider 106’s bike, causing him to fall to the ground.

There was enough space on his right to pass safely but unexpectedly our car was kicked to the left by a rock. We stopped immediately and reversed. The rider got up and indicated to us to pass by waving to us to go past which we then did safely.

We should have stopped to double-check if he was ok, but because he waved us by our understanding was that he was ok. I want to apologise for not stopping and also for the unfortunate incident. Rider 106 continued to finish the stage and is still in the race. I wish him a successful and safe race.

That’s a bad situation to be caught in, especially on TV, and de Villiers ended up with a five-minute penalty as a result. To make things worse, the FIM now says there’s a report of a second incident from Stage 2, involving rider #163, Mohamedsaid Aoulad Ali. Reportedly, a car ran over a downed bike at KM 180 in the special. The machine was seriously damaged, and the driver did not stick around to render assistance. The rumor is that this driver was de Villiers; at this point, that isn’t confirmed, which is why the FIM and FIA (the auto drivers’ regulatory body) are investigating. Rallymaniacs says tracking data implicated de Villiers, but we have seen no official report that says as much.

Here’s what the FIM report said:

“It happened around kilometre 180 in the trial, it happened around 11:00am.

“He was getting his bike upright when he heard a car approaching. He pulled over. The car went over the top of the dune and drove over the motorbike causing major damage.

“The motorcyclist could not read the number of the car.”

To be clear: The second incident could be another car entirely. However, de Villiers is now treading on very thin ice, despite picking up his race pace. At the beginning of the rally, the Toyota Gazoo Racing driver told Dakar.com that “I’m still a bit rusty and in need of finding my pace, but I’m happy with my first performance. The turmoil due to my COVID test took a toll and I think I’m going to need a couple of days to see clear again and be back at 100%. One thing is for sure, this wasn’t an easy start.” If he’s in such a flap that he’s putting other competitors at risk  and not staying behind to render assistance (see clip above), then he’ll find himself in serious trouble with race management.


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